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Series / Olive Kitteridge

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Olive Kitteridge is a miniseries based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Elizabeth Strout. Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand) is a depressive, retired schoolteacher who lives with her husband, Henry (Richard Jenkins) in Crosby, Maine. The two have a troubled son named Christopher (John Gallagher Jr.), who becomes a podiatrist after college. The story charts Olive's problems bereavement, jealousy, and friction with family members and friends.

This series has examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The original novel was more akin to a collection of short stories focusing on the lives of the residents of Crosby, while the miniseries is centered more around the experiences of Olive.
  • And I Must Scream: After his stroke, Henry becomes unresponsive to the world around him to the denial of Olive.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Olive, through and through. She also serves as a heavy deconstruction since it ruins her personal relationships.
  • December–December Romance: Olive and Jack begin one after Henry dies.
  • Driven to Suicide: A common theme in the series. Averted with Kevin and Olive, who attempts suicide in a park but is interrupted when some children playing in the woods notice her, leading to her Heel Realization, but played straight with Rachel.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Most, if not all of the characters are deeply flawed people trying to make their way through life, with some being more successful than others.
  • Happily Married: Christopher and Ann.
  • Hostage Situation: Olive and Henry get held hostage in the hospital. Thankfully, the police manage to save everyone after a relatively short period of time.
  • How We Got Here: The series begins with Olive contemplating suicide at a park before flashing back to nearly 25 years prior. It's only at the final episode that we catch up to Olive going to the park to commit suicide.
  • Jerkass Realization: By the end of the series, Olive comes to the conclusion that her troubles with Christopher were her own fault and that she was awful to Henry.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Olive is not a nice person but she's well-meaning.
  • Lonely Together: Olive and Jack.
  • May–December Romance: Subverted with Henry and Denise. Despite the former's growing feelings and increasing paternalism, he doesn't act on his urges, and Denise ends up with Jerry.
  • Morality Pet: Clancy acts as one for Olive, with Olive even admitting to holding off on suicide until the former dies. And he does.
  • Opposites Attract: Olive and Jack wind up together at the end of the miniseries despite their contrasting political views.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The book is a collection of 13 short stories, with changing protagonists and over 90 named characters. Understandably, the series concentrates on the title character.
  • Slice of Life