‘Uncoupled’ asks what it’s like for gay men to have mid-life crisis

Uncoupled | Netflix | ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Uncoupled is the new show from TV’s Darren Star, who previously created Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Emily in Paris, Central Park West, and the iconic Sex and the City. 

In this new show, which is easily binged in a single sitting, we meet real estate agent Michael Lawson played by Neil Patrick Harris. Contently living with his boyfriend of 17 years, Michael’s world is set into a spin when he is unexpectedly dumped.

Supported by his business partner Suzanne, and close friends gallery owner Stanley, and TV weatherman Bill, he begins a journey of reentering the dating pool and making sense of what his life’s trajectory is going to be.

From gym rituals, to dating apps, intimate selfies and modern safe sex practices, Michael heads off on a series encounters that are equally filled with drama and comedy.

It’s easy to compare this new creation to Star’s best known work Sex and the City. It’s set in New York, it’s largely centered around four friends and their dating adventures and it follows a similar style of storytelling -but thankfully Michael doesn’t sit down in front of Apple laptop and type out a 250 words column with a life-lesson at the end of each episode.

Neil Patrick-Harris is believable as the slightly needy central character, and Tisha Campbell is captivating as his wise-cracking professional sidekick, but the characters of Billy, portrayed by Emmerson Brooks, and Stanley (Brooks Ashmankas) are less engaging.

Many of the tertiary characters are range from forgettable to grating. Soon to be married couple Jonathon and Jonathan ,aka ‘The Jonathons’, are played by former Queer Eye host Jai Rodriquez, and Colin Hanlon. They don’t make much of an impression. While rival real estate Tyler Hawkins, played by Nic Rouleau, is at first comical, but quickly descends into annoying caricature.

There are other characters who are worth tuning in for. Marcia Gay Harden appears to be having a ball as recently divorced socialite Claire Lewis. Tuc Watkins is believable as Michael’s departing lover Colin, and Andre De Shields has a lovely role as older gay neighbour Billy.   

The show has a few laugh-out-loud moments, and there’s been a lot of discussion about a scene when Michael tries to take his first ever dick-pic. Overall it’s enjoyable – but it hardly breaks any new ground.

Uncoupled is available to stream on Netflix.

Graeme Watson

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