Neil Patrick Harris gets dumped by his boyfriend and tries to rebuild his love life, in Uncoupled, which should have been called Ex and the city.
What is Uncoupled? Michael (Neil Patrick Harris), a real estate agent in New York, has been in a relationship for 17 years with Colin (Tuc Watkins). But when he suddenly leaves him without explanation, Michael is stunned. Not only has he lost the one he considered his soul mate, but he finds himself in the shoes of a middle-aged gay bachelor in New York. With the help of his friends Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas), Billy (Emerson Brookes), Suzanne (Tisha Campbell) and a wealthy client who has just dumped her husband (Marcia Gay Harden), there he is again on the job market. dating – except that he has absolutely no idea how to flirt in the age of social networks and dating apps.
Darren Star has created legendary series such as Sex and the City, Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Placeor more recently Younger, Emily in Paris and the continuation of the adventures of Carrie Bradshaw, And Just Like That. For Uncoupledhis latest series available on Netflix, he has teamed up with Jeffrey Richman, producer of Modern Family.
This time, we follow the love troubles of Michael. At the age of 40, our man has everything to be happy: a brilliant career as a real estate agent in New York, a circle of friends and a stable relationship for seventeen years with the handsome Colin. But then her boyfriend abruptly leaves her, and Michael’s world crumbles. After seeing him chasing after his ex, moping and depressed, his friends advise him to shake off: it’s time to get back into the New York gay singles market!
A series of Darren Star, a bachelor who is looking for love in New York with his band of friends? If we play it lapidary, Uncoupledall of a sudden sex and the city gay. Or rather, a… And just like that gay. Because more than the quest for Mr Big in the 1990s, the series explores from a queer and less tragic point of view the rediscovery of oneself when one loses the love of one’s life. In the sequel to Sex & the city, Carrie finds herself alone after Big’s death; in Uncoupledon the other hand, it is the need for space and the weariness after seventeen years of living together that leaves Michael alone and distraught.
Uncoupled is a light and extremely likeable little romantic comedy. Over the 25-minute episodes, it’s easy to get attached to Michael. With a mixture of naivety, irony and self-mockery, we see him cling to his ex, agree to mourn their relationship, and finally try to find someone.
But rebuilding his love life is all the more difficult as the world of dating has changed a lot. What profile picture to put on Tindr? How to respond to a dick pic? Or in a more timeless way: do I try it with the handsome Italian who just wants a one-night stand, or do I embark on a serious relationship with the handsome guy I met in the evening?
In the main role, Neil Patrick Harris is delicious, perfect in this register where tender humor does not exclude sarcasm and where the punchlines are often irresistible. At his side, the group of friends who help him to overcome the breakup is first sketched in broad strokes, but all of them gradually gain in importance, until they have their own sentimental (mis)adventures.
Billy, the one-night stand TV presenter; the gallerist Stanley who struggles in his love life; Suzanne, Michael’s colleague who juggles between guys and her teenage son… Uncoupled becomes more interesting when it gives more space to the secondary characters, building at the same time a very sympathetic dynamic between all its protagonists.
We love less
Uncoupled is a classic series, which brings nothing new. A guy dumped by his companion, who starts to go out and flirt again but who has absolutely no idea how to go about it because he does not master the codes and in particular those induced by new technologies: the story has already been treated many times. The implementation is also unsurprising, with a linear narrative that follows marked paths, expected twists and even an obvious conclusion from the start.
And there is also the comparison with Sex & The City / And just like that, already mentioned and inevitable, less because of the name of Darren Star than because of the way in which we find the theme, the setting, the codes and even the characteristics of the main characters. All are single, spending their time talking about failed relationships, bad dates and awkward encounters while attending events at exclusive New York venues. Among them, we have a Stanford, a Miranda and “a” Samantha Jones who only thinks of banging the little youngster on duty…
Finally, the humor is sometimes clumsy (because an entire episode about… farts in a budding relationship, it was not necessarily necessary.)
We see if… we want a light comedy, we are a fan (like us) of Neil Patrick Harris, we miss Carrie Bradshaw and her friends and we are in for a less sex and more gay version.
We don’t see if… we expect something different and that innovates a minimum, we are allergic to clichés of all kinds, we are such a fan of Sex & the city that we prefer to see the original series again.
8 episodes of 25′
Available on Netflix.