Alan Yang, co-writer of Netflix's acclaimed hit "Master Of None," has returned with a new approach to comedy — a dramedy.
His new series, "Forever," stars the brilliant Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph. Known best for their work together at "Saturday Night Live," the duo sticks to their roots with awkward humor but packs serious, deeper meanings about life in an eight-episode timeline.
"Forever," tells the story of a middle-aged, married couple living in the most boring part of California, known as the residential area of Riverside. Oscar (Fred Armisen) and June (Maya Rudolph), have been together for an unstated number of years, but ultimately have a relationship that is very personal and unique to their characters.
A solid four minutes and 53 seconds of the first episode reveals their everyday life to viewers. It embodies happiness and security, but it is also coddled by a lot of repetition. One can notice how the relationship is a bit one-sided, as Alan Yang portrays this throughout June's expressions.
As Oscar enjoys this monotonous life, June is at a crossroads. She loves her husband and their life together, but deep down she wishes for change.
*Extreme spoiler alert*
In an unexpected manner, the first episode ends with Oscar's character being struck by a tree and killed while skiing. The ski trip was an attempt to spice Oscar and June's relationship up, considering they go to the same lakehouse every year on the same weekend. We then fast forward to a grieving June who is trying to pick up the pieces of her life again without her husband.
Highlighting grief, the second episode shows June in the first year after she loses Oscar. She shows a loss of self and overall a lack of direction as to where she aspires to be in her life. A career opportunity to travel to Hawaii seems to be the unexpected answer to this question. However, after flying first class and choking on a macadamia nut, June dies in the second episode.
This is a shocking but necessary choice in order for the show to really dive all into all of the existential questions viewers are wondering deep down.
June suddenly opens her eyes while laying on a bed of fresh green grass. Oscar peers over her with a giddy sense of excitement to see his wife once again. June is confused but also very elated as well to re-encounter her husband after a year of grieving.
What many people often find themselves questioning is "What now?" "Is there actually an afterlife?" and, if so, "Does God exist?"
Forever addresses these questions in a subtle but smart way.
The show essentially circles around the idea that there is an afterlife. It does not confirm whether God is real, if this is the actual afterlife, or what the meaning of life is. What it does make sense of is the quality of being. In this second realm, the characters are discovering what to do in a place where their only limitation is straying too far from the fountain.
Oscar enjoys a life that is much like his living one. When June appears in her new reality, she finds herself searching for a deeper purpose. She starts seeking out pottery and other hobbies. Eventually, this search is what cracks their relationship and sends them in different directions.
As June goes to explore more of the unknown, the connection between the afterlife and their marriage relay apparent symbolism to their actions. Yang presents this existentialism by placing emphasis upon the need to live in the now.
What viewers could take away from the show is that life is extremely short. There is no answer as to whether there will be an afterlife or just absolute nothingness - and that's a terrifying thing to ponder. But, whether we know the answers to those questions or not, this show makes us more aware of life itself.
This show tells us to be decisive. Be active in your own life. Whether this is changing surroundings for the betterment of a marriage, or taking charge of one's career, these are all important keys to reassess.
"Forever" forces our minds as viewers to think and see our lives from a different perspective, a one where we aren't "currents." It has aspects of comedic remarks, but ultimately creates a sense of wonder for its viewers. Amazon featuring shows like this has definitely put a spin on the average series.