From scripted TV and original movies to weekly talk shows and reality series, Netflix has already conquered almost every corner of the entertainment industry. But with its newest offering, Westside, it's entering new territory, introducing a reality hybrid that intercuts documentary-style footage with stylized music videos. The show follows nine aspiring musicians who, with the help of co-creator and co-star Sean Patrick Murray, stage a showcase at a Los Angeles nightclub. One such Westside cast member is Caitlin Ary.
According to Variety, Ary is a 29-year-old L.A. native returning to her hometown after some time in Las Vegas. Per the same report, she struggles with self-doubt and recently suffered a miscarriage, both issues that could very likely play out on the show. She's also friends with Murray and fellow cast member James Byous, and is polyamorous.
In a "meet-the-cast" video, Ary described herself as "the c*nty, hands-on mom," while in another teaser, she said she's still figuring out where her career is headed. "I've never known exactly what I've wanted to do," she admitted. "Because I do want success, and I know that I just want it on my own terms. I just really don't know what that is yet."
However, her fellow performers seem more confident in her abilities. "[Ary's] purpose is to always laugh at my dad jokes, FaceTime me 10 times a day...oh and to conquer the world with her INSANE voice!" Murray commented on a Westside Instagram post. This speaks to the general atmosphere of the show, which by all accounts seems encouraging and uplifting. There doesn't appear to be that cutthroat attitude that's often so prevalent in reality shows. After all, Westside is a collaboration, not a competition.
"We’re all musicians, and we allowed cameras to access our lives," Murray told Variety in the aforementioned article. "Our goal is to share our music and tell our stories. We’re all just trying to be the best versions of ourselves."
It remains to be seen, however, what stories Ary will share. "There wasn’t anything prepared ahead of time," she told Pitchfork. "We were truly there just playing by ear, figuring it out as we went."
Kevin Bartel, one of Westside's executive producers and co-creators, told Variety that they were initially on the fence about whether audiences would respond to an unscripted reality show. "We started to dig deeper to get to know and understand [the cast members'] relationships and their fears — and the decisions they were making that were impacting their lives," he recalled. "These are really captivating individuals. And the breakthrough moment for us was.... 'What if we could turn the genre on its head and really make this about the people?' If you fall in love with the people, you’re going to fall in love with their music."
He continued: "It’ll be interesting to see their relationships evolve as people get to know them and who pops and who doesn’t pop because, as you know, the music industry can also be cruel."
Only time will tell if Ary will be one of Westside's breakouts, but audiences will get to learn her story, hear her voice, watch her dance, and determine that for themselves.