Netflix’s ‘One Day’ takes the audience on a turbulent journey that spans twenty years, with one day summing up the situation its protagonists are in at the time. The focus is on Emma and Dexter, who are clearly in love with each other but cannot get together, sometimes due to bad timing, sometimes due to self-sabotage. The story takes many complex turns, especially as the characters start to veer off each other. This is the time when Dexter, especially, starts to lose a sense of reality and finds himself in a dark place. A lot of it has to do with the nature of its job, the pressure it brings on him, and the recklessness it induces in him. He works on TV and stars in several shows, but are any of them real? SPOILERS AHEAD
Largin’ It and Get In!! Are Modelled on Real 90s British TV Shows
The characters and events in ‘One Day’ are entirely fictional and created by David Nicholls, whose novel of the same name serves as the inspiration for the Netflix series. In it, Dexter’s life takes a turn when he starts working for a TV show called ‘Largin’ It.’ As a presenter on the show, his charm and handsomeness go a long way to turn him into an instant celebrity. For him, it is a job that not only pays well but is also glamorous enough to suit his personality. It is fun, doesn’t require much from him except to be his boisterous, flamboyant self, and brings him a lot of attention, especially from girls. For his friends and family, however, it is not something worthy of their time, and almost all of them are quick to let Dexter know that.
Dexter’s journey in television is entirely fictional, but author David Nicholls didn’t create it out of the blue. In writing the novel, he looked back a lot on his own experiences and that of the people around him, especially in the 90s. During that time, he was working as an actor, and while he had to struggle a bit to get good parts and did odd jobs to keep himself afloat, there were some who were a bit luckier than him.
Nicholls noted that some of the actors he knew got successful early on in their careers, and this had quite an impact on the way they wanted to live their lives. The fame and the money influenced their behavior at the time, and Nicholls put all of that into Dexter. To capture the vibe of the 90s and to tread that line where Dexter is only “slightly famous,” he looked towards the game shows and late-night shows on TV at the time.
In the adaptation of the book for Netflix, the show’s creators went for the same vibe and aesthetic, recreating the signature of 90s games and talk shows that weren’t popular with a large crowd but had their own following, usually made up of young adults. The titles of the shows that Dexter works on are also in sync with the titles that were used around that time. All of this attention to detail makes things more realistic, giving us a better sense of what goes on in Dexter’s life.