Sex and the City's Darren Star and veteran Jeffrey Richman have come together to deliver Netflix's latest series Uncoupled, starring Neil Patrick Harris. The light-hearted drama about a gay relationship is a surprisingly fresh take on love, life, and acceptance amidst the overcrowded market of TV shows all around.
Uncoupled premiered on July 29, 2022.
The eight-episode series, with a run-time of 30 minutes per episode, takes the story of two mid-40s men and treats an ordinary breakup story with panache. This ordinary approach to the story of gay relationships is what sets this series apart from the many shows and films that have tried to portray homosexual relationships in the past few years.
Read on for a detailed review of Uncoupled.
Uncoupled review: Uniqueness in the common representation
Over the years, we have seen these two kinds of homosexual romances: one where the homosexual relationship acts as a way of delivering a social message or becoming a symbol, and one where gay couples are used as an additional element in a non-homosexual story (like Modern Family). But it does not have to be that way. A story can center around a gay couple and be as ordinary as that of a straight couple.
This quirky tale of heartbreak executes this perfectly.
When a 40-something estate agent, Michael's boyfriend, suddenly decides to leave him on his birthday, all hell breaks loose for Michael, who has been in a monogamous relationship for 17 years. Of course, adjusting to such change takes time, and often comically so.
The show explores Michael Lawson's (played by Neil Patrick Harris) venture into the unknown world of dating, while also trying to conceal his broken heart in a way that is funny without being ridiculous. This new part of his life is aided by the colorful personalities of Suzanne (Tisha Campbell), Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas), and Billy (Emerson Brooks).
Another unique factor is how the series focuses on mid-40s men, rather than youngsters. This also adds to the more plot-centric approach and normalization. Uncoupled has the potential to normalize gay relationships to a greater extent than most shows centering around gay relationships. This is mainly because of how well it deals with the perspective of a gay man.
It also sheds light on commitment issues, the struggles of dating in the present-day world, and the complications of love. Infused with magnetic music scores and some great editing work, the show does not feel slow, choppy, or out of sync. While Neil Patrick Harris's character could have been more likable, it was not a mishap, but rather a creative choice.
The story of the show could also have been a little more original, especially the ending that resembles the 1990s rom-com. But perhaps seeing all this from the perspective of a gay man, and recreating scenes in our head that we mostly reserve for young straight couples, could ultimately result in the change of perspective that most LGBTQ+ films and shows aim for.
All in all, Uncoupled is a fun watch that does borrow from many known sources, but has its own perks when it does so. A decent weekend binge that should live up to the expectations of most viewers.
All the episodes of Uncoupled are now streaming on Netflix.