The new HBO series The Baby, a show centred around the horrors created by a cursed baby, may be one of the weirdest stories you'll watch unfold, starring Michelle de Swarte, but it’s truly entertaining and brilliantly funny with blunt examinations on motherhood (streaming on HBO Max or Crave in Canada April 24 at 10:30 p.m. ET).
“When I first read the script, it was so refreshing and it was such a different take on what it is to be a caregiver, and what it is for someone to end up with a baby,” de Swarte who leads the series as the character Natasha said before premiere of the show. "She didn't want the responsibility of looking after someone.”
“So even though she'd had this small human bestowed upon her, that wasn't enough for Natasha and I thought that was something that was really refreshing, to see a woman not charmed by a newborn.”
This is a series where any attempt at a summary won’t be able to accurately reflect the arc of the bizarre story, but we’ll try to lay the groundwork for you head of the April 24 premiere.
When we first meet 38-year-old Natasha, she’s getting a bit frustrated with her friends who are focused on having children, while motherhood is definitely not of interest to Natasha. When she decides to take a break away from her life in London, she’s thrust into a total horror scene.
A baby, literally, drops into her arms and through a series of deadly events, Natasha gets stuck with this baby. As she realizes how dangerous this child actually is, Natasha starts on her desperate attempt to get rid of it, with the help of Mrs. Eaves (Amira Ghazalla), a 70-year-old woman who holds the information of the genesis of this deadly baby.
Natasha and Mrs. Eaves’ attempts to free themselves from the baby hits a major roadblock when Natasha’s sister Bobbi (Amber Grappy), who is longing to have a child of her own, gets her hands on the baby, leads them to a commune where Bobbi and Natasha’s mother Barbara (Sinéad Cusack) lives.
Leaning into the weird, the horror and the comedy, in the best way that you can combine the three, The Baby will keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing all the way through.
“I think that some of that comedy comes through just because we're seeing sort of behind the curtain because [you see]…some of the experiences they're going through in motherhood,” de Swarte explained. “There's no sort of romanticism around it, that's where the comedy is.”
“The way it's written is that these women are brutally honest with their experience about [motherhood] and it's funny to see…someone just not enamoured by a child.”
Created by Lucy Gaymer and Sian Robins-Grace, The Baby exemplifies the power of women telling a story based on the raw and often infuriating reality of the societal pressures of motherhood.
“Just because we're women, we’re expected just to have this instinctive connection to a baby,” de Swarte said. "The way motherhood is shown in films and magazines and adverts and all of this kind of stuff, it just reconfirms this notion."
There's no sort of romanticism around it, that's where the comedy is.
“When you're speaking to other women, especially moms that are in the first throes of motherhood…it's something that you hear again, and again, [that women are not charmed by their newborn] and I think, no surprise to us, but to see it on the screen, it's rare.”