Netflix’s ‘Friends From College’ Is More Like “Friends From Hell”
And with any luck it will burn away…(Spoiler Alert)
It’s becoming blatantly clear that Netflix is betting on shows that look like they have enough juice for a healthy lifespan based on the immaculately assembled cast and the trendy interface of “living life on the edge” even when there’s no plausible reason why that should be the case.
My relationship with Netflix is reminding me of the instances when we start hanging out with a cool guy who consistently gives you hints that things are headed in the right direction — until he does something that forces you to hit the brakes. It’s not bad enough to make you bail, but it does warrant the need to proceed cautiously.
When Gypsy premiered not too long ago — I was curious but not hopeful. I could sense the direction of the series and after accommodating every episode — I felt vindicated for my premature assumptions. Naomi Watts embodies a woman who basically has the life that most would kill for — except it’s not enough to keep her from fueling a double-life.
This detour is supposed to keep viewers at the edge of their seats, but only serves as the annoying proof that privileged White ladies don’t give a damn about how good they have it.
There seems to be a virus brewing that is attacking our ability to watch quality original fare without breaking out in hives at the audacity of its creation. The reason this happens is simply because of the trend that is soaked in the bloodless narcissistic quest — to build characters that are so bored that they actively seek chaos and mayhem within the stability of their elite status.
Enter the latest offering — Friends From College — another disappointing and pointless outing that focuses on the zigzag interactions of a group of Ivy Leaguers, who are fast approaching the dreaded big 4–0. Naturally that is the incentive for outlandish tendencies and the emotional upheaval that forms when you are above average and still feel woefully inadequate.
First off, it’s quite challenging buying the fact that these people are actually longtime friends. There is absolutely no chemistry whatsoever, and the worst of it is the token Asian actress who is obviously placed in this pathetic scenario for the sake of diversity — and all the things that transpire when White men who write this stuff — purposely and cluelessly tread into uncharted territory.
Keegan-Michael Key spends the entire season, roaming around like a lost puppy as he tries in vain to maintain the momentum of his true talent. He can’t hide how aware he is that shit ain’t right. Unfortunately, he’s tasked with the burden of portraying the stressed out writer/adulterer — Ethan, who is married to the professionally stable/emotionally quirky Lisa — played by Colbie Smulders. Ethan has been indulging in a secret affair with their classmate, Sam (Annie Parisse), which makes no sense because Sam is a straight up bitch/snob.
It’s hard to grasp why on earth Ethan, who’s married to the more down-to-earth woman who suffers from occasional fits of crazy — would determinedly mess around with their mutual “friend” who also seems to hate everything and everyone— including the man she’s fucking around with.
The only one who seems to be alerted about this senseless tryst is Marianne, played by Jae Suh Park. That seems to be her main connector with this group of randoms that are being forced together under the seduction of muted lighting and a killer soundtrack.
The rest of the cast don’t even resonate enough to suggest the validity of their presence. Although, yes, all the essential requirements seem to be in order with Fred Savage (the cute kid from The Wonder Years) taking on the role of Max, a literary agent who is in a boring as fuck relationship with his partner, Felix (Billy Eichner) who is basically boring as fuck.
Felix’s assignment is to help Ethan and Lisa weather the realities of IVF and even this part which is supposed to be taken seriously by viewers — experiences weirdly implemented snags — that end up leaving us even more exhausted and nonchalant about the whole thing.
This might be the new frontier of modern television and if that’s the case — count me out! I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t find the whole “Gee, our lives are pretty darn swell, so why don’t we find cool ways to fuck it all up, because, you know, we got it like that” — routine appealing.
It’s actually breathtakingly insulting, especially for folks like me that have to work like maniacs just to be able to leave the grocery store without heart palpitations. There’s nothing remotely hilarious or entertaining about watching privileged people playfully plot how they can destroy their marriages or careers — all in the name of feeding the restless need to be comfortably restless.
The laziness in the writing helps to elevate the direly miscalculated plot lines and loopy characters — that are hanging by a wearied thread of celebrated disenchantment.
Sorry, but it’s not enough to calculatingly gather a group of good-looking actors without any real course of action — because the incentive is to encourage a steady foreplay with the camera — as they sprint their way through generic lines — dressed in casually pricey pieces — modeling brilliantly messy hair — and placed in gorgeously primped interiors.
The city of choice is almost always New York City or Los Angeles — and in this case it’s The Big Apple, but even that fails to impress as the sidewalks are reduced to the pummeling ground for out-of-control instances — that all combine into one glob of packaged disarray — that hopefully has a soon-to-be honored expiration date.
Friends From College is another hellish delivery from Netflix, that I never imagined would arrive so soon — especially after the embarrassingly disastrous run of Girlboss. It appears that the powers that be — are hell bent on tricking us into submission — even though they know what we end up discovering once we take in 5 minutes of something that never should’ve seen the light of day.
Enough with the muted-colored screen and the bodies that speak and cling to each other with empty urgency. No more falsehoods that leave us in the dust as we try to comprehend why we should care while hoping we never do.
Friends From College needs to find new friends who used to be Friends, but can’t figure out how to make that a constant because college buddies typically have a hard time getting the “Friends” part right — and it has very little to do with fucking your college classmate in her house while your wife hangs with your friends below.