Funny? Well, it’s complicated
Beginning a TV series about relationships with a sex scene seems de rigueur these days. I’ve begun to suspect they are teaching it at film school: S-Exposition 101. It at least supports the screenwriting maxim “show, don’t tell”.
Comedian Keegan-Michael Key, of Key & Peele fame, is hot property these days. He has done voice work for animated comedies such as Bojack Horseman, Archer and SuperMansion, and has a starring role in the next Predator film due out next year.
Here he plays Ethan Turner, a semi-successful literary novelist married to Lisa, a lawyer played by Cobie Smulders ( How I Met Your Mother, Avengers). He is cheating on her with Sam (Annie Parisse, Law & Order). The conceit is that this has been going on for 20 years, since they all went to college together. Their other friends include Max ( The Wonder Years’ Fred Savage), Nick (Nat Faxon) and Marianne (Jae Suh Park).
There is more than a dash here of the 1992 film Peter’s Friends, which starred Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton — by which I mean that 30something old friends, as much as they love each other, can be competitive “little bitches”, as one character says here.
In this first episode, Ethan and Lisa decide to move back to New York, while Ethan and Sam agree to end their affair. Max, Ethan’s literary agent, tries to convince him to try his hand at young adult fiction — a dispiriting notion for him.
It is a fine-looking production, with a soundtrack that includes nostalgic songs from The Sundays. But with so many excellent series around, its not clear that this one is distinct enough to claim audiences’ attention. Friday. streaming on Netflix from
Friends from college raise a glass in the eponymous Netflix series