Tuesday, August 02, 2022


What caught our interest in UNCOUPLED was a GUARDIAN slam that said the show was SEX AND THE CITY for gay men but this time they didn't have to pretend to be women since times had changed.  Huh?  We get it.  We made the joke, we're sure, years ago.  And we're sure we credited THE SIMPSONS for the joke since they made it on "Half-Decent Proposal" back on February 10, 2002.  THE GUARDIAN didn't credit, it just ripped off.

And, thing is, it's a funny joke -- or was two decades ago -- but it was never really accurate.  Yes, the series was created by Darren Starr who is (and was then) openly gay; however, Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Frigid (oops!) weren't gay men and were not gay men pretending to be women.  SEX AND THE CITY resonated with women.  It did so because Darren offered a more complex look at women than TV had prior -- and because this was a more complex look at women, many needed to pretend there was something wrong with it at that time.  At that time.  THE GUARDIAN needs to be embarrassed of the review they posted.  It reeks of sexism and homophobia.  

UNCOMPLICATED?  It just reeks.

No, it doesn't.  We couldn't resist.

UNCOMPLICATED stars Neil Patrick Harris.  We really could leave it at that. 

By that, we mean, the show focuses on him in the early episodes -- too much so.  It was a rare scene that took place without Neil in it.  We eventually got some.  But for far too many moments, every other character seemed less a character and more of a prop existing solely to prop up Neil's character   If this had been the first eight or nine episodes of SEX AND THE CITY, we doubt viewers would have flocked to the show.  That said, Neil has a lot more appeal and warmth than Sarah Jessica Parker.  So we put up with Michael (his character) non-stop moping.

His partner (boyfriends who live together, they never married) Colin (Tuc Watkins) has cold feet suddenly -- as he turns 50 so Colin moves out and breaks up.

You would have thought it was the next pandemic.  Or war.  

Darren was smart to cast Neil because there aren't many other actors we stick around for this long to watch them mope and whine and be depressed and mope and get angry and mope and mope and mope.

The good news is that it can never be like this again.  Michael and Colin could get back together and Colin could leave the next day and it won't be like it was before.  There's no shock to a second bailing.  

Neil got some good one liners during all of this moping but it was still way too much moping.  

And way too much self-pity.  We've all had break ups and, yes, they can be very painful but, no, everyone around us doesn't have to stop their world to daily focus on us.  

Equally true, the whole Michael is hurt works a lot less when Michael both hurts another person and acts like Queen Priss.

We're not fond of drama queens -- whether they use the pronouns he and him, she and her or they and them, we're not fond of drama queens.  You may remember we lost a lot of sympathy for Ryan in SPECIAL when he ignores his boyfriend repeatedly until suddenly wanting to have sex with him -- and have it right then -- and then Ryan turned all priss because he got a bit of fecal matter on his penis.  

Something much milder happens to Michael.

He briefly decouples from the caboose on the pity train long enough to meet Luke -- a 3rd grade school teacher played by Dan Amboyer.  Luke is wonderful and great for Michael's ego . . . until a friend puts a bug in Michael's ear -- six days in a row, isn't that a lot to spend with someone.  Michael dismisses it because they'll be apart the next night due to the poker game.  But then Michael invites Luke to the poker game.  And Luke wanting to be the couple they've been being for a week but, now, in front of Michael's friends leaves Michael tense.  Luke and he are discussing everyone while doing the dishes after and suddenly Luke farts.





He breaks up with Luke on the spot.

Luke can't believe it.  

Nor could we.

We couldn't believe that someone in the NYC gay scene -- where what blow jobs were to the 20th century, tossed salads are to the 21st one -- would be such a prude.  And we couldn't believe it as Luke expressed his disbelief and Michael kept insisting that they just met, that this was no relationship, they just met.

Considering all the moping from Michael that preceded this moment, he didn't not come off well.

If you think too much about it, Michael doesn't come off well a lot.  

He seems to believe he's a top.  His friend Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas) challenges Michael's self-description as a top.  Michael insists he is and that versatile is not the label because it doesn't apply to one time 20 years before.  Yet Michael comes off like a bottom.  For example, ER's Goran Višnjić is shown an apartment by Michael and Suzanne (Tisha Campbell) and, following the accidental exchange of a dick pick, he begins texting Michael.  The two quickly end up in bed together and we got the impression that Goran was playing the top.  Then Michael's father fixes Michael up with his dermatologist.  And they're going to have sex.  And the doctor assumes Michael's the bottom -- that's why he asks him to roll over.  Michael does -- a lot quicker than we'd expect a top to -- but then begins to whine about the size issue and how he might not be able to handle it.  Because the doctor is hugely endowed and because he's a dermatologist, he's gotten used to this sort of reaction and his answer has been botox -- injected into the hole.  Suddenly, it's all off.  Michael's in a panic.  No, his hole might gape and for how long and -- Again, Michael really seems to be a bottom and he really seems to be embarrassed about being a bottom.

You may be wondering when the moping comes in?  Constantly.  Anytime Michael's not attempting to live out the Beach Boys' "I Get Around," he can be found moping.  At once point, he manages to do both.  He hooks up on the street with a stranger -- a younger stranger.  They go back to the younger guy's place and Michael wants to know where the condoms are?  (Wouldn't a top carry condoms if they were supposed to be used?)  The guy tells Michael that he's on prep and this and that and Michael goes off and transforms . . . into Will Truman on WILL & GRACE.  Specifically, he's Will in "Daddy Issues" when Will lectures millennial Ben Platt.  But there, it made some sense.  Like the young man, we're confused by Michael climbing on the cross of condoms -- and confused long before he brings up the AIDS quilt and left wondering if Michael truly believes that wearing a condom in the past has made him a heroic character?

Stanley's an interesting character and is that long before he faces a health crisis.  Emerson Brooks probably essays the most complex role -- a player who, too quickly for the show, has realized all that is wrong with him and his life.  He, Brooks and Tisha Campbell make for a solid cast.  But Marcia Gay Harden's Clair has already exhausted our patience.  We don't find her funny when she's making her racist remark, for example.  Someone seems to think having this rich and rude White woman on the show is somehow needed or funny.  Do they think it's Karen Walker?  Megan Mullally found that role within two episodes and she added much more heart to it by then that Harden has in her full season.  She does not fit with the series.  While it is funny when Tisha Campbell gets off her line about needing to talk to Clair about consent, it really isn't funny when Clair grabs Suzanne and kisses her (Clair is posing as a lesbian to make her husband jealous).  Maybe it's all the liberties that White Clair has already taken with African-Americans Suzanne and Mia?  Maybe it's the fact that she was Suzanne and Michael's boss and has forced friendship (or her idea of it) onto them?  It's just not that funny nor is she.  

Tisha is and the smartest move Darren and co-creator Jeffrey Richman was casting Neil and Tisha as best friends.  They have a real chemistry and they're both warm and appealing.  Next season will hopefully involve less moping and involve more efforts at beefing up storylines for the ensemble.  UNCOUPLED has a great deal to offer.  No, it is not SEX AND THE CITY (nor is it trying to be -- except possibly Clair who comes off like an unsexy and cold Samantha wanna-be -- if that's what they're going for, recast the role with Kim Cattrall ).  But it could be something much better -- provided we're done with the moping.  

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