Television Review: Friends from College

Synopsis: A group of friends from Harvard are facing down their forties. With interwoven and oftentimes complicated relationships with one another. “Friends from College” is a comedic exploration of old friendships, former romantic entanglements and balancing adult life with nostalgia for the past. (From IMDb)

 

 

Narrative Structure: Each season consists of eight thirty minute episodes for a total run time of  four hours. All the episodes consist of an A plot and a B plot that come together in the  C plot. Everyone you see on screen will interact with each other before the end of the episode. For working adults with kids, these people have a lot of free time.

Who’s Who

  • Lisa Turner (Cobie Smulders)-Corporate attorney for a hedge fund. Ethan’s wife.
  • Ethan Turner (Keegan-Michael Key)-Struggling literary fiction author. Lisa’s husband.
  • Nick (Nat Faxon)-Trust fund baby. Does not work. Pursues younger women.
  • Marianne (Jae Suh Park)-Struggling off-off-off Broadway actress.
  • Sam (Annie Parisse)-CEO of an interior design firm. Married to Jon (Greg Germann).
  • Max Adler (Fred Savage)-Works in publishing and is Ethan’s literary agent. Engaged to Felix (Billy Eichner) a fertility doctor. 

Location: Season 1 occurs in New York City. Season 2 takes place in New York, Connecticut, and the Cayman Islands

Review: First of all, Hollywood seems to think that everyone in America attended Harvard. There are close to 4,000 other institutions of higher learning in the United States. I am still waiting for Hollywood to make a series with students from Stanford or Yale. Somehow I doubt anyone will write a series about college students from Walla-Walla University.

Second, none of the characters possess any redeeming value. Ethan and Sam have participated in a twenty yearlong affair; which makes one wonder why Ethan married Lisa instead of Sam. Lisa reacts to news of the affair by running around and having sex with other men. She goes through Nick, whose been nursing a twenty year long crush, and then poor Charlie. Ethan and Lisa struggle to conceive and go through a painful round of IVF. This strains their marriage and makes Lisa feel even worse about the affair. Finally, the hedge fund Lisa works at is a Human Resources nightmare. Lets just say most of the men in the office like to unzip their pants and rub themselves all over the phone console. It takes her way too long to reconsider her employment. Sam’s husband takes the public humiliation route. Really, neither of these couples have strong relationships, which begs the question, why stay together?

Thirdly, Max and Felix have the strongest relationship. However, Max suffers from low self-esteem and lets his friends walk all over him. Felix objects to Max acting like an insecure child and encourages him to stand up for what he deserves. Sadly, Max allows his friends to come between himself and Felix.

Fourthly, Marianne stars in an uncomfortable gender-switching version of A Streetcar Named Desired. Stanley never looked so feminine.

Fifthly, Nick has one solid relationship going with a strong, intelligent woman who challenges him to do better. Yet when Lisa comes calling, he drops everything, insults his girlfriend, and chases after the college flame. With friends like these, no one needs enemies.

Finally, Seth Rogen and Kate McKinnon both make extended cameo appearances. However, both roles could have easily been played by less famous actors. They added nothing to the series.

Verdict: Growing up, children idolize adults. After all, adults can go wherever they want, eat what they want, and go to bed after 9:00 PM. However, when one becomes an adult, we realize the ridiculousness of our previous idolization. This series showcases all the juvenile behavior some people carry over with them from childhood to adulthood. Despite having a cast of highly likable and talented actors, the screenwriters render everyone’s charm moot. Between stilted lines, bad life decisions, and general nastiness, none of the characters feel like they would actually be friends after college.  On the plus side, each season is only four hours long. On the downside, that is four hours you will never get back.

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