Cats of Netflix (Part 2) – #CATS_The_Mewvie
If you’ve looked at a screen for any length of time, chances are, you’ve seen a cat. Name it – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, even Tik Tok – there’ll be someone’s feline pet, probably falling off a door. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before you could switch on the TV and see someone’s feline pet falling off a door.
In the last few months, Netflix has brought us at least two shows about cats. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at Don’t F**k With Cats, but because that ended up being the very opposite of a cute cat video, we now come to #CATS_The_Mewvie. Which, can I just say, is incredibly annoying to type so will henceforth be known as Cats The Mewvie.
Last time, I had a go at explaining why cats have grown to become these internet stars. Their heads remain a mystery to us so we keep watching in the hope we’ll eventually figure them out. But this time, it’s a documentary dedicated to explaining precisely that: “How our feline friends became online icons, from the earliest text memes to the rise of celebrity cat influencers.”
It’s directed by Marcus Margolis and written by Keely Booth, the same team behind the Canadian version of Bachelor. So we’re not expecting too much, but hopefully it can be that 90-minute light-hearted cat fix.
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Yeah, well it isn’t.
Things start interestingly enough.
As promised, we get to see some of the first ever internet memes to feature cats. The Infinite Cat Project is here too, which if you haven’t heard of it, is a picture of a cat looking at another cat on a computer screen, which is also looking at a picture of another cat looking at another cat on a computer screen, and on and on it goes, up to 1,854 cats in total at the moment.
The film also touches on how cats went on to take the virtual world by storm. Heads from the Museum of the Moving Image, YouTube, and Instagram all take turns explaining how cats are common pets and no matter where they are on the globe, basically the same. Apparently, this makes them the perfect international language for the then-new international communication method that is the internet. And in turn why we as humans love to watch them. All well and good.
But from about the halfway mark, it takes a turn for the worse, and becomes what many in online reviews are calling little more than an advertisement for Instagram. We arrive at a thing called “cat influencers”.
Now, I have to admit I’m not much of a so-called “crazy cat person” myself, or even someone who go out of their way to look at a cat. But I like to think I see enough of my wife’s social media feeds to know what these sorts of people like. And it’s not endless interviews about what people think of their own cats.
I think I can see what Netflix was thinking. Instagram, and social media more broadly, is an enormous force in today’s world, and so a show about how others have bridled it to bring fame to their cats will surely appeal to all the young and trendy out there attempting the same for their pets.
And sure, include a bit of that. But please spare us from over half an hour of it. After all, it’s safe to say the people watching cat videos online will be the same people wanting to watch this.
So give them more of what they like. The greatest viral cat videos, or the back stories to some of the greatest viral cat memes. Maybe even some interviews with celebrities whose fame has also brought fame to their cats. Taylor Swift, for instance. And for heaven’s sake, cut the whole thing down to no more than 60 minutes.
I might even watch that.
But as it stands, Cats The Mewvie is a no. Yes, you’ll probably make affectionate cooing noises at times, and the late “Lil Bub” does make an appearance, who I gather is like the Stephen Hawking of the cat world. But you’re better off watching your own compilations of cats falling off doors on Instagram. And if you want some internet history, Wikipedia.
And to make up for the time you’ve spent reading this, enjoy another little something: