The hidden climate story in James Corden’s Mammals

ASLI SONCELEY
2 min readJan 17, 2023

I originally typed this in imdb reviews but it was declined, (apparently “that ending though…” is more acceptable per imdb standards) so here we go:

✋ Spoiler Alert

The show on the surface is about man and woman, love and lust, and perhaps attempting the tough case for polyamory. But the reason why I really appreciated it, is the subtle coating with themes of climate change.

In the show’s title and in Jeff’s book presentation it is made obvious that we are mammals of a Planet after all. Mammals do what they do. They surface to breathe. They mate with multiple partners. They are rarely monogamous. They are overall happy if they’re not thirsty, in pain, or danger.

And danger is what’s every-present here.

These characters already grieving the loss of a baby, a future, a partner’s trust and loyalty, a sense of safety and magic. They are also in “massive, colossal, clear and present almost biblical danger.” Climate change, Earth, being of Earth, grieving extinct fellow creatures of Earth, although never expressively spoken is in the back of the mind for each character.

Jeff, a scientist on the brink of suicide, drinks and fucks it off. Lue, second-hand shop owner, gardener, homemaker keeps returning to the woods, soaking herself in the night time river for healing, accepting, integrating her pain. She tells Jeff, “it’s not too late.” The recurring phrase that comes after each new climate report written by scientists.

The feminine, the mother, the flesh, the object of desire, the muse, the restaurant, the Earth are embodied in Armandine.

The whale always accompanying her is the magic, the majestic, the endangered, the sign, seemingly encrypted like random scrabble tiles, but all very clear after all.

Jamie is most of us, human man, ignoring the signs, or is simply unable to read them because they are too magical. His culpability, the responsibility he’s been pushing down to his subconscious finally comes to surface with the tape, the evidence, the scientific fact, along with a magical sign he can no longer ignore: the whale that drops in the middle of his neighborhood.

Artfully done. More storytelling like this, please.

Look again. The signs are there.

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ASLI SONCELEY

Founder. Mother. Immigrant. Artist. Strategist. Focused on Climate Psychology.