Along with his lackluster new album, Justin Bieber recently released an uninspired 10-part YouTube docuseries that “reveals” what the star has been doing these past few years.
“Justin Bieber: Seasons” tells the story of Bieber leaving the spotlight, “changing” and then returning. Among views of Bieber in the studio, the series introduces his wife Hailey (Baldwin) Bieber and tells of his struggles with substance abuse and other mistakes he’s made.
While dealing with some heavy topics, everything about the show felt very shallow. It seemed as if Bieber’s management produced the docuseries to repair his reputation and acknowledge his mistakes but didn’t actually care to elaborate on what he changed to fix things. The series simply doesn’t feel genuine. It says “I’ve changed” when what it should be saying is “This is what I’ve changed” and “This is why I’ve changed.”
Bieber has often marketed himself as “relatable” — just a regular kid posting videos on YouTube before being plucked from the crowd and making it big time. As a young kid, his squeaky clean surface image earned him leagues of teen and tween fans. But as he’s grown up, Bieber has had to deal with the repercussions of his not-so-cute actions, and he hasn’t always done so humbly. In fact, the series feels more like a cautionary tale about fast fame and its unavoidable consequences than a story of redemption.
The documentary focuses a little on what Bieber has done and is doing to manage his physical and mental health. It introduces viewers to his doctors, takes them along to one of Bieber’s treatments to recover from substance abuse and demonstrates the inflatable sort of hyperbaric-type chamber that Bieber uses to breathe in more oxygen that helps to alleviate his anxiety.
Though the series glosses through some of these treatments, the most important coping mechanism portrayed in “Seasons” is perhaps Bieber’s marriage.
The docuseries spends a lot of time interviewing Hailey Bieber, showing her with Justin and celebrating their relationship. Hailey is portrayed as the light of Bieber’s life. Bieber’s management praises how good she is for him and how happy they are together.
But when you watch the series, their marriage seems like just another quickie celebrity coupling. The two appear like lovesick teenagers who have no concept of reality or the stakes of marriage. They sit around in upscale loungewear, go on vacation together and plan their lavish wedding. After watching the series and seeing how much time Hailey Bieber spent in the studio with Justin, I felt like she had no other goal in life than to be his constant companion and support system.
And I wasn’t even sure how good she would be at that: It seemed like every time the camera panned to her, she was on her phone.
The series would have been more interesting if certain topics were fleshed out. For example, “Seasons” shows Justin in the recording studio trying to get his tracks perfect, but it doesn’t show where the inspiration for any of the music comes from, leaving his music feeling purposeless and generic.
What also would have been nice is a more mature explanation of the Biebers’ love for each other. The series shows the couple’s first meeting as kids behind the scenes of a morning show, but it doesn’t fully describe how the two fell for each other as adults or how they worked through issues they faced (they were together and then broke up once before they reunited and got married).
This deeper exploration of the several featured themes of “Seasons” would have added what the series was missing. A more sophisticated approach could have created the vulnerability and purpose that are necessary to an intimate, tell-all celebrity docuseries.
Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.