Katherine Ryan's The Duchess is noxious and obnoxious, says Robyn Bahr. There's a scene on her Netflix comedy that is "vile, caustic and unfunny, emblematic of a vile, caustic and unfunny TV series," says Bahr. "In her semi-autobiographical Netflix comedy The Duchess — so named, seemingly, for the protagonist's collection of bedazzled headbands — U.K.-based Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan stars as an aggressive and foul-mouthed single mom whose only goal in life is to please her 9-year-old peach of a daughter (whether it actually benefits the girl or not). Ryan's unseasoned, petulant delivery combined with her character's noxious, corrosive self-absorption make for a brain-shredding 6-episodes."
The Duchess represents a tasteless misfire for Netflix: Katherine Ryan "represents her onscreen avatar as a badass rebel doing things her own way — vainly missing the point that an antihero is supposed to, you know, be something other than a hero," says Daniel D'Addario. "Everything about her character is carefully calibrated to scandalize, starting with her outfit in the show’s first episode: She walks her daughter Olive (Kate Byrne) to school in a sweatshirt reading “World’s Smallest Pussy,” with marabou fringe. It’s never commented upon or developed further. This, like the rest of Katherine’s antics, puts nothing on the line, and indeed is intended as a fluffy bit of self-congratulation. It’s a half-joke whose punchline is 'wouldn’t it be crazy if someone were this arrogant?,' less shocking than wearying."