Beautiful art can arise from the ugliest circumstances. No matter the medium, creators have channeled their trauma into healing through music, dance, poetry, painting, and, of course, film and television. Thundering into the collective consciousness of our current stay-at-home culture is the HBO series I May Destroy You, which multiple critics have described as a theoretical “traumedy,” a subgenre reflective of our time.
Actor, writer, director, and now executive producer Michaela Coel created the BBC-produced series following her assault after her drink was spiked in a bar. Coel’s protagonist, Arabella, wrestles with the emotional trauma of processing sexual assault through the 12-episode series, which debuted early last month on HBO. Following the model set by recent prestige streaming series including Little Fires Everywhere and Normal People, episodes roll out one at a time. While binge-watching might be our new normal, trust me: You’re going to want to sit