“Men. Do we love them for the dick or the date?”
The newest entry to the Netflix mix by creators Darren Star (Emily in Paris, Sex and the City) and Jeffrey Richman (Modern Family) is Uncoupled. Neil Patrick Harris stars as Michael, a self-obsessed real estate agent living in New York City with his boyfriend, Colin. On Colin’s 50th birthday, without much warning or explanation, Colin leaves Michael and moves out after 17 years together. Blindsided and heartbroken, Michael is left picking up the pieces of life as a single gay man in his late 40s. There didn’t seem to be any signs of their impending breakup, and as Michael says early in the season, it was “like a flip of a switch.”
With a cast that includes Tuc Watkins, Tisha Campbell, Marcia Gay Harden, and Brooks Ashmanskas, Uncoupled is a manic peek into the private lives of entitled, wealthy, and white East Coast gay men that is a direct opposite of Peacock’s current series, Queer as Folk. The series is an exciting take on a newly single man entering the dating pool after nearly two decades. Michael is exhausted early on with downloading apps and navigating a world of condomless PrEP-filled men, something he hasn’t been familiar with his whole dating life. It’s more vulgar than Emily in Paris with a twist of LGBTQ+ humility and a ton of Netflix product placement.
The first season of Uncoupled starts out quite lopsided, as Michael and the viewers are puzzled as to why Colin leaves so abruptly. Michael’s friends are New York cliches, as some embody Broadway singers and art gallery owners. Are these characters relatable to anyone who lives beyond the Hudson River? No, but they grow on you. Tisha Campbell, in particular, strikes an impressive balance between being the comedic side character and Michael’s life coach. At the same time, Marcia Gay Harden plays up a mirrored reflection of Michael’s future as an unhinged single. Darren Starr and Jeffrey Richman are not afraid to present comedic problems afflicting upper-class elitist Manhattanites.
Watching Neil Patrick Harris play a man thrust back into dating late in the game is a treat. Even though Michael is only focused on what he wants and displays selfish attitudes towards his career, he becomes a layered character full of frustration juxtaposed with optimism. Harris doesn’t shy away from showing Michael’s vulnerability. His behavior rubs off on the people he’s surrounded by, and the interconnectedness of their shared experiences as single people nearing 50 makes for a different kind of romantic comedy.
First Season Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟1/2