MerPeople is a fascinating docuseries exploring the pros and cons of a career in the half-a-billion-dollar mermaid industry.
Here is our review of the 2023 Netflix documentary series MerPeople Season 1, released on May 23, 2023.
With The Little Mermaid set for release on May 26, premiering MerPeople on Netflix three days before the film hits theaters seems a strategic yet clever move. However, don’t expect to see magical creatures such as Flounder or Sebastian as part of this docuseries, but instead, an honest portrayal of the bustling and mesmerizing mermaid industry.
MerPeople Season 1 Review
Over four episodes, viewers are introduced to individuals from different walks of life who are part of the half-a-billion-dollar mermaid business niche.
Brittany, known professionally as Mermaid Sparkles, gives us an account of her struggles in the line of work due to her location. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, an area of limited activity regarding career progression as an underwater performer.
Eric was first introduced to mermaiding after visiting Weeki Wachee, a spring in Florida that hosts Mermaid Shows. After befriending the performers, he inherited a worse-for-wear mermaid tail, fixed it up, and started to make tails for the underwater entertainers.
He, too, had a stint as a performer, though later in life, he immersed himself in the art of tail making, adopting the name The Mertailor.
Though many viewers won’t relate to the professional mermaiding industry, MerPeople reflects one’s determination when pursuing their dream career. The cast members have invested years of their life into perfecting their craft to obtain jobs in the industry, which, like most things, certainly has drawbacks.
Many are working two or three jobs to make ends meet while building their resume in the field, not to mention the costs associated with the equipment, with tails costing up to $5000.
We also learn there’s much more to the industry than looking pretty. During a segment, a voiceover depicts the skills needed to excel in the business, such as prolonged breath-holding and being a strong swimmer.
Being underwater for extended periods also results in health concerns, with past mermaids discussing how prone performers are too frequent ear and sinus infections, which resulted in them exiting the industry.
Later we see Ché Monique, the founder of the Society of Fat Mermaids, which, according to the creator, is a “size-inclusive community designed to celebrate fat bodies,” trying out for the Circus Siren Pod, a group of elite professional mermaid performers.
During auditions, it’s brought to light how competitive the industry can be, with just 20 individuals being given a shot to become a member of the exclusive group from a pool of 54 applicants.
MerPeople covers a lot of ground with each cast member, and their backstories and what led them to the industry are an interesting watch. We also see some heartfelt moments, particularly when Pro Merman, Tristan recalls being sent a tail, which piqued his interest in mermaiding after he was fired from Disney World.
As an amphetamine addict at the time, he remembers his days spent mermaiding being the ones that didn’t result in substance abuse, which showcases the positive effects of partaking in things that bring us happiness.
And though many see it as a bizarre career path, it’s a fascinating industry, and when you see how much joy mermaiding brings each cast member, you want nothing more than to see them succeed.
Is MerPeople Good or Bad?
MerPeople is a fun, entrancing look at the mermaid industry. It showcases how satisfying working in the niche can be while acknowledging the drawbacks.
Is MerPeople Worth Watching?
MerPeople is definitely worth the watch. Those unfamiliar with professional mermaiding will be completely captivated, learn a lot about the industry, and be given an honest portrayal of what lies beneath.
On the contrary, those struggling to make a name for themselves in the field will find the series relatable.
What did you think of the Netflix documentary series MerPeople Season 1? Comment below.