The series “There She Goes” is remarkable television — a breathtakingly honest look at a family whose second child, Rosie, is born with a rare chromosomal disorder that causes learning severe disabilities and behavioral issues.
Episode 1 opens with wordless moans — seemingly the sound of an infant in distress. It is Rosie, now 9 and putting up a fight as her father tries to take her for an outing to the park. She breaks away from his grip, dashes into the street, lies on the pavement and refuses to budge.
It is hard to watch such a painful moment. But it’s worth staying with the show, which is based on series creator Shaun Pye’s own family. “There She Goes” debuted in the U.K. last fall, and it begins streaming stateside Tuesday on the subscription service BritBox.
In flashbacks to 2006, dad Simon, (“Dr. Who’s” lean and angular David Tennant) is just a regular guy with a touch of caddishness. His wife Em (Jessica Hynes) is due any day, and he’s at a bar with chums, telling her he’s working late.
After giving birth, Em knows something is wrong, but everyone tells her the child is fine. In a wrenching monologue, she speaks her dark inner truth: “I just want to love her, but I don’t know if I can.” As Pye said at a recent panel, he does not want to “sugarcoat the strain” of having a child with a disability.
In 2015, Simon and Em are struggling. Dad pretends not to hear Em call that Rosie has made a poo and hidden it. When Em asks Simon to give her a break to work on her research, she really just wants to play a video game.
It is clear that these two imperfect and exasperated parents do love their little girl. Making jokes is one way they cope, and Rosie turns out to be a jokester as well. She types a message on an ABC board that speaks in a synthesized voice. It begins: “I. Want. Daddy.” Seems like a setup for an expression of love. Then she finishes typing: “Go bye-bye.”
Em says, as any mum would, “Well done, Rosie.” That praise goes for this TV show as well.