In the fourth episode of Gypsy, Jean Holloway (Naomi Watts) takes a gloomy time-out in her bathroom and paints her nails a deep blue — sigh. Jean's feeling some type of way, and there's only one way to express these emotions, it seems. Nail polish.
Beauty is often used as a cipher for a woman's emotions on television. (Shout out to every time a frantic woman has cut her own hair on TV.) Whether it's lipstick, a haircut, or nail polish, these little physical changes act as outward signs of inner trouble. In the case of Jean's blue nail polish, it seems to be a sign of general restlessness — the topic of the entire show. Jean, a therapist, is straining against the confines of her life. She's a housewife in Connecticut. She loves her husband, she loves her kid Dolly, but she just, you know, wants to shake things up a little. As such, she starts testing the boundaries with her patients and their various attachments.
In case you were worried the nail polish isn't a Big Deal, Jean's potential (and future) lover and slinky young thing Sidney notes the color in their next encounter, as women do.
"I love your nail polish," she says. According to Sidney, the color is indigo. Also according to Sidney, Indigo is hardly a color — it's just the space between violet and blue on the rainbow spectrum. It's the in-between. This probably speaks to the fact that indigo has been perceived as a highly spiritual color. Various theories connect the color to the third eye chakra; this is the chakra in charge of concentration, imagination, cynicism, and tension. In other words, all those feelings that make your brain hurt and possibly stress you out. Indigo's also just shades away from blue, a hue that has long fascinated creative types. E.g., Picasso had his "blue" period, and Maggie Nelson devoted an entire book to the very concept of "blue." Blue, in that sense, is typically associated with melancholia.
All of these can be applied to Gypsy's heroine. Jean feels that she lost a bit of herself in the "settling down" part of her life. She's restless, and wandering about various restricted territories in her own life. So, she paints her nails a deep, sad indigo. (She's also, rather fittingly, wearing a navy robe when she paints her nails, as pictured above.)
The show 13 Reasons Why also made use of blue nail polish. Hannah Baker used a deep blue to number her 13 tapes. At the show's premiere, many of the stars, including producer Selena Gomez, wore blue nail polish in solidarity with the show's protagonist. It's not likely the Gypsy cast will do the same — Jean Holloway isn't really someone you want to stand in solidarity with, but she and Hannah Baker share some frustrations. Hannah feels ignored by her parents. Jean feels ignored by her chump of a husband, Michael. Hannah rebels quietly, by making a series of tapes naming the people who have wronged her. Jean rebels not-so-quiety, by inserting herself in the lives of her patients. And they both take to nail polish to express it.
It's enough to make you wonder if Netflix has a deal with OPI. Or, I guess, Sinful Colors, which was the brand behind the "endless blue" worn at the 13 Reasons Why premiere.
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