By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)
I woke up earlier than usual on a Saturday morning for a dentist appointment and had over an hour to kill before leaving. So, there was enough time to stream two and a half episodes of the 2022 Netflix series “Uncoupled” starring Neil Patrick Harris. Created by Jeffrey Richman and Darren Start, the story follows 40-something Michael, a real estate broker who gets dumped by his partner of seventeen years without a reason. Blindsided, heartbroken, angry…. newly single Michael tries to navigate the gay dating scene in New York with the help of some friends.
Neil Patrick Harris might not be as young and smooth like Barney Stinson from his ‘How I Met Your Mother’ days, but his sassy, snarky, supportive pack of friends keep you hooked to the show. A painful break-up is the crux of the plot, but the script keeps things witty and breezy, instead of spiraling into a long pity party where being 40s and single seems like the end of life. Michael hops on the Grindr (smelling sponsorship there) train to hedonism and shakes off the 17-year-old monogamous dust on his bed. There are enough cringe-y moments, along with some genuinely hilarious encounters, that keep things entertaining.
All the secondary characters fit in with the main storyline well, even the rich snooty divorcee Claire (Marcia Gay Harden), who plays a supercilious client being wooed by Michael and colleague/best-friend Suzanne (Tisha Campbell) for her fancy house up for sale. Marcia Gay Harden does the bitter new divorcee act with perfection and develops an uncanny friendship with Michael after finding out both off them have been unscrupulously dumped by their partners. Tisha Campbell is endearing as the ‘fun friend + colleague’, the only one isn’t as self-centred as Michael and everybody else in his social circle. Other friends include – Emerson Brooks as playboy weatherman Billy; Brooks Ashmanskas plays Stanley, an art dealer who is too ‘old school’ for dating apps; Colin Hanlon and Jai Rodriguez play long-time partners referred to as ‘the Jonathans’. While most of the characters have a narcissistic streak, their friendships are warm and it’s nice to see how they make time for each other despite successful careers and a long list of personal problems.
The series is eight episodes long, but Tu Watson who plays Michael’s long-time partner Colin is only seen in 4 of them. Because of his limited screen-time, it’s easy to root for the new men the protagonist meets through the show. With each new encounter, Michael has a new lesson for mid-life dating in the era of Grindr. Like going to a club full of hot prospective dates, yet looking up an app to see who is immediately available for what, instead of walking up to them with a pickup line. Brace yourself for some dick pics, steamy scenes and a big gay skiing getaway holiday.
Sure, Neil Patrick Harrison does a fantastic job with his whiny but sexy character, but it’s all the other elements of the show that make ‘Uncoupled’ entertaining. Marcia Gay Harden is only a side-show, but her cold character thaws slowly and begins to grow on the viewer and it makes you want to see some more of her in the episodes. The climactic episode was rather emotional in tone, unlike the light tone of the rest of the show, and surprisingly ends in a predictable cliff-hanger. After all the excitement and upheaval in his life, Michael has a shot at the comfort of domesticity again, will he take it? Jeffrey Richman and Darren Start leave that question hanging in the air for a possible season two.
It’s a 7.5/10 from me.
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