Netflix: “Uncoupled,” starring Neil Patrick Harris
TV showrunner Darren Starr covers his bases well. In “Sex and the City,” he gave us four young women on the loose in New York City. In “Emily in Paris,” an attractive American marketing exec takes the City of Light by storm, collecting BFs as if they were Goyard bags.
And this summer, he’s given us “Uncoupled,” (Netflix), the story of what it’s like to be dumped by your long-term romantic partner when you’re in your late 40s. The twist here is that the couple is gay.
Michael (Neil Patrick Harris), a high-end real estate agent, is blindsided when Colin (Tuc Watkins), his hedgie BF, moves out of their shared apartment without an explanation. For a gay guy of a certain age, that means trying to forget Colin and starting to date again. He tries Grindr (which leads to a number of blind alleys and some very funny scenes), fixups engineered by his understanding parents, even roller disco and gay ski weekends.
Fortunately, Michael can lean on a number of friends who keep things interesting. These include Stanley, (the excellent Brooks Ashmankis from “The Prom”) a bitchy art dealer; Billy (Emerson Brooks), a TV newscaster who never met a guy he didn’t try to sleep with; and Suzanne (Tish Campbell), a potty-mouthed work partner who herself is on the prowl for Mister Right (or Mister Tonight).
Besides dating up a storm, Michael tries to forget Colin by throwing himself into his work. Marcia Gay Harden is great as his rich, insufferably self-centered client who has been dumped by her husband for a young chippy and in her neediness makes Michael’s life a living hell.
In Darren Starr fashion, the New York City scenics are terrific, the wisecracks are razor-sharp, and all Michael’s hookups are drool worthy. Be advised, however: no matter how hard you try to resist the show’s breezy, unapologetic white privilege, the more you will find that resistance is futile.
The finale of “Uncoupled” may come out of left field for some viewers (ssshhh, if you’ve seen all eight episodes, no spoilers, please) but we personally loved it. So go and binge-watch, with my blessing. After all, we’ve got two weeks of summer left. Enjoy the brainlessness while you can.