“H20: Just Add Water” Is Kafkaesque Horror With Plucky Teens

Click here to listen to an audio transcript of this post!

Three teenage girls swim under the light of a full moon in a heavy pool of water in the center of a dormant volcano. The rays radiate through the dark, illuminating the sky on this cloudless night. When the moon reaches its’ apex, it will shine down through the perimeter of the volcano top, illuminating the pool, and setting on what is now the beginnings of… The Metamorphosis II: Just Add Water!

Why Fishy Series ‘H20: Just Add Water’ Is One Of The Greatest Aussie TV Shows Ever

H20: Just Add Water is a teen comedy television series centered around three girls who suddenly and mysteriously are turned into mermaids- but only when they touch water. The trio of Cleo, Rikki, and Emma have to deal with mermaid problems while juggling a normal life! Imagine how difficult it is to attend pool parties when you can’t get wet! Also, imagine how horrifying it would be to have your legs merge into a massive fish tail. That seems like a much bigger problem that isn’t ever addressed.

Franz Kafka was an author known for his writing in body horror, a subcategory of horror known for violent violations to the body. To describe something as Kafkaesque means to describe it as “nightmarish, or sickeningly surreal”. One of his most famous works details a man waking up as a fly-human hybrid… sounds pretty familiar, huh? H20 may take on a fun bubblegum tone, but it is totally Kafkaesque.

Jesse Pinkman describing an event as "Totally Kafkaesque"

This might seem like a bit of a stretch, but let’s look at some of the verses from the theme song, Ordinary Girl:

I got a special power
That I’m not afraid to use
Every waking hour
I discover something new

Cause I’m no ordinary girl
I’m from the deep blue underworld
Land or sea
I’ve got the power if I just believe

Come along it just gets better
So much to do and just so little time
Cause it all depends on whether
You wanna leave the land above behind

That’s unsettling. If the song wasn’t a cheery high tempo bop, it would set an entirely different tone for the series. If the lighting was any dimmer, The CW would pick it up for five seasons and half the cast would be gay, arsonists, or gay arsonists.

Kafka would be proud of how far his influence has spread. If he were alive today, I don’t doubt he’d kick back and binge through the series in a day. Unfortunately, he can’t- so I guess I’ll have to instead.

“H20: Just Add Water” Is Kafkaesque Horror With Plucky Teens

Misfit Mementos means no disrespect to the awesome power of teen mermaids or their freakish fishy forms.