The Mediocrity Of "Friends From College"

The Mediocrity Of "Friends From College"

...But Why It Works For A Netflix Show.
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The new Netflix Original show, "Friends from College," is exactly what you would expect it to be. A show about middle aged friends who are experiencing life after college. Now, I am using middle aged sparingly because they are either in their forties or just turning it. This is not a typical show about thirty-somethings experiencing (the soon thereafter) life after college and partying twenty-four-seven.

This is entirely different. Most of the characters are married, or married and have children, or married and are trying to have children. Some are single; some are living the forty-year-old life after college. However, this is still not the typical “life after college” show. The show is centered around a twenty-year adultery scandal, which is an overused plot and very very bland nowadays; but, “Friends from College” did it once again in 2017.

What makes this show different is the cast, right off the bat -- we have one part of "Key and Peele," Keegan-Michael Key who plays the main character of the show, Ethan Turner. He is hilarious in this show; I would watch the show just for the fact that he is hilarious in anything he ever does. That saves the show often.

Cobie Smulders as Lisa Turner who is Ethan Turner’s wife. This is a different casting choice because I only see her as Maria Hill nowadays. Annie Parisse as Sam, Nat Faxon as Nick, Fred Savage has made a return as Max Adler, and Jae Suh Park as Marianne. These six characters make up “Friends from College.”

Why It Only Works For A Netflix Original Show

It works for a Netflix Original show because Netflix is known to take leaps of faith. It works in a sense that – it would not work for any other network but Netflix. The show is quite bland and does not bring anything ‘interesting’ to the table.

It is a show about forty-somethings who are terrible people; this can be seen in episode two, titled “Connecticut House.” In this particular episode, it is entirely about adultery and killing a bunny... so they think.

There is nothing special about the episode that stands out; however, Ethan and Sam are toying with fate as they continue their cheating scandal. Moreover, what makes matters even worse is – Sam has children with her husband John, played by John Germann. It appears that these set of couples are terrible people in a terrible TV show.

The only thing that saves this show is the comedic relief from Keegan-Michael Key and often, surprisingly, Fred Savage. Without Key and Savage in this show, it would have faltered more so than it already did. That does not mean it is a bad show. It works for Netflix as I said.

Most Netflix Originals are bland and very hit-or-miss. Netflix, as I stated before, seems just to be taking a leap of faith on shows and movies that do not work for Networks. This is one of those shows. While it is not bad, it is not good. There is a category of shows on Netflix that can be titled, “Background Noise Shows;” this would be under that category.

It overestimates the audience it is pulling for. Most Millennials are watching Netflix and baby-boomers in their forties are not necessarily watching new shows on a streaming site called Netflix. While they might, and the demographic could be at least half of baby-boomers are watching Netflix and new shows on Netflix – it is still a small percentage.

Most Millennials are watching these new TV shows and, dare I say it, taking a leap of faith on them. They are watching the first episode and deciding from then on if they will continue. This show might make half continue and half not continue (hit-or-miss).

The characters of the show are simply forty-somethings doing childish things: taking drugs, cheating, complaining, getting drunk every other day (or every weekend), taking Adderall, and merely acting like they are twenty in a forty-year-old body.

There is nothing wrong with that, it is perfectly fine, but there is also an adult world; bills need to be paid, jobs need to be worked, and the characters on this show simply come off as a privileged joke.

It is more so like they just graduated college, instead of being out of college for years and years, maybe even a decade now. Moreover, what makes matters worse is – most, if not all, of these characters, went to Harvard. They remind you of that. However, they do not act like it.

What makes the show irritating, at best, is Ethan is continuing to work with his wife using IVF to get her pregnant. This is even though he has been cheating on her for over twenty years. It makes you angry, more than anything else watching the show; in the episode titled, “Mission Impossible” it shows just that.

Ethan is going through everything and trying to get his wife pregnant, but he knows he is cheating on her in that same retrospect. I wish the show centered around the aftermath of adultery or how to work through adultery. It would have made the show more prominent and relatable, in a way.

Why It Would Not Work For A Network Show?

It does not work for a network show because no one would tune into a show about forty-somethings trying their hand at life. Most people want to see “Friends from College” as people in their thirties. They want to feel related to these characters. What “Friends from College” falters in is that relatable factor.

While people can relate to adultery and trying their hand at life, these characters are wasted on bland acting and bland results. We do not get many dimensions; it is very one-dimensional with these characters in the show.

They are nearly forty, or forty, and living on their friend’s couch because they decided to get a U-Haul and move back to New York. Usually, people get an apartment soon thereafter when they are forty because who wants to live on a pull-out couch at forty years old?

There are just some aspects that are not relatable, which results in inconsistency. By episode six titled, “Party Bus” it becomes a daunting task to finish the series. With just two episodes left, you get bored, and the plots seem to all blend into one another. By the sixth episode, you are wondering, “Okay, but what else?” It is the same old, same old, and makes you want to switch to something else.

It would not work for a Network for that reasoning. Networks need polished shows, with multiple plot points, and multiple ‘jaw-dropping’ episodes. Affairs do not do that for TV anymore. The use of affairs on TV, sadly, has become the norm. It does not provide anything for the TV series that it is being used in – shows can do it correctly, but they can also do it incorrectly.

“Friends from College” does it incorrectly. It does not show any resentment from these characters that are having an affair. Sam does not take her children into account. Ethan still tries to have a child with his wife, although he is having sex with another woman. No one thinks about their choices at their age in the show. Which, again, is weird because they are forty. At that age, you usually do not make drastic decisions such as the ones these characters are making.

Ethan and Lisa live on their friend’s couch, yet still have money to go on wine tastings and go to expensive restaurants. It appears that they are not thinking about their own life or even finding their own place. The first time they look for their own place is in episode three titled, “All-Nighter.” It took them three episodes to look for a place.

The show falters in many ways that would lead to a Network not picking up the show.

Verdict: Is It Any Good?

It is decent; if you want a new show to watch that will keep you interested – not the show for you. If you want a show for background noise, that you can work and watch at the same time – I would say go for it.

The show has some interesting moments, such as the IVF moments. They are relatable – but, are often downplayed by the preceding or upcoming events that happen. It appears while this show stands on good morals and a good, decent plot -- it does not efficiently produce those well for the show.

Terrible acting clouds the course of these eight episodes, and forty-year-olds acting like twenty-year-olds. That sucks because some of these actors are some of the best actors in the game. It is a show full of adultery and terrible choices if that is something you are into then, by all means, check out "Friends from College."

Cover Image Credit: Deadline

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5 Best Comedy TV Shows of 2017 That You Shouldn’t Miss

Spectrum Cable Channels come packed with entertainment options so that you don’t have to miss out on any of the entertainment genre Comedy.

Do you know that Comedy is one of the most-watched entertainment genre in the United States? Yes, it is, and rightfully so! Pertaining to the rushed nature of our contemporary lifestyles, and the obligation to outperform in all the challenges and endeavors that we face each day (be they work-related or otherwise), we need a proper and a regular dose of quality entertainment to invigorate our sore and tired nerves. Entertainment is as essentially needed as sleep, when it comes to refreshing and revitalizing ourselves to face another challenging day. 

And the very idea of watching a tragic or horror movie or show (in the very name of entertainment), would rather drain our brains more, leaving us feeling all gloomy and depressed or terrified (many won’t be able to even sleep well after watching a horror movie). So, yes, Comedy is the safest option when you aim on entertaining yourself. You actually feel gleeful and light-hearted after watching a comedy show and this is exactly the sole purpose of entertainment.

Hence, we have hand-picked 5 most entertainment-rich and fun-packed Comedy TV shows, for you to watch and have the much-craved entertainment dose. But most importantly pick the right Cable TV Service Provider, to enjoy a robust channel line-up that provides you with all the entertainment options of your choice. Spectrum Cable packages include HBO®, CBS®, NBC® that broadcast some of the best Comedy Shows.

  1. Big Little Lies

Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley star as the three Monterey mothers in ‘Big Little Lies’, that is aired on HBO®. Based on the best seller by Liane Moriarty, with the same title, the plot weaves a sinisterly comedic tale that involves murder as well as mischief, in the serene Monterey town on beachfront. It is an intelligent satire on how the communities are driven by gossip and rumors inside, that superficially seem to comprise of doting moms, very successful husbands, gorgeous children, and mesmerizing homes. 

The storyline exposes the broken and fractured relationships in apparently ‘ideal community’, especially between spouses, children and parents, and even neighbors and friends. Madeline, Celeste and Jane are the three protagonist mothers, and we get to know things through their eyes. We get to explore society's myths about perfection and romanticizing marriage, parenting and friendship, in a humorous way, which is why it is a massive hit in not only audience, but critics as well. 

2. Glow

Starring Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and Betty Gilpin, the plot of this comedy series, revolves around the professional and personal lives of this group of women, who work for a wrestling organization based in Los Angeles (in an 80s setting). The action begins when an out-of-work performer/actress, finds an unanticipated chance at fame and stardom, by entering the glamorous and glittery world of women's wrestling, where she has to work alongside a total of 12 other girls, who were just like her, Hollywood misfits. Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), an unsuccessful director of B movies’, tries to train these women to fame. 

It is aired on Netflix®, and is one of the best Netflix® shows to date. Best as a weekend-watch, the episodes are only 30 minutes of length, packed with humor, drama and hilarious performances. 

Some of the best episodes are Money's in the Chase, Live Studio Audience, and The Wrath of Kuntar.

3. Master of None

Aziz Ansari and Eric Wareheim are in Italy, in the second season of this Netflix® show. 

The Writer and creator Aziz Ansari, has based this series on his real-life experiences. Dev (Ansari) plays as a protagonist. He is a New York-based performer/actor, who is in the middle of this struggle of identifying and recognizing about what he actually wants, both in professional and personal life. The series unfolds snippets of Dev's early youth, whilst exploring aspects of his current life, that includes modern etiquette (and that is regarding social media and texting), since he is still young and single. Ansari's actual dad performed the role of his father in the series as well. 

In the second season, the script as well as the performances, both became more natural. And the love story in the second season is perhaps the most fascinating in any TV show.

The best episodes were, First Date and New York, I Love You.

4. The Good Place

Starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, The Good Place is one of the quirkiest comedy TV series, but also one of the most eagerly-watched one. 

Aired on NBC®, the plot revolves around Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell), who surprisingly found herself in the next world/afterlife, and she's both flabbergasted and relieved, that she has finally made it to The Good Place. But it is not long, when Eleanor realizes that she's there, mistakenly. She then consistently hides and ensures not coming in sight of the architect (of this Good Place) Michael and his all-aware and all-eyes assistant Janet. Her ‘apparently perfect’ neighbors Jianyu and Tahani, and her soul mate Chidi, help her recognize and realize the fact that it is never too late. So, with the help of these new friends, and a few foes, Eleanor makes a resolution to leave her old ways of life, and hopes to move forward with discovering and embracing a new one in this afterlife.

Also available on Hulu®, some of the best episodes were: Michael's Gambit, Mindy St. Clair and The Eternal Shriek.

5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Aired on The CW and also available on Netflix®, it is one of the craziest comedy TV show of all times. It stars Rachel Bloom (also the executive producer), Donna Lynne Champlin, and Vincent Rodriguez III. The plot unveils when the extraordinary successful and ambitious, Rebecca Bunch apparently has it all, from a chic and expensive Manhattan apartment, to a partnership at a renowned, prestigious law company. Still she has a feeling that something is always missing, till she had a coincidental meeting with her former love interest. That made Rebecca spontaneously decide to give up her well-established life in New York altogether and relocate to a California suburb. In the hopes that she will make a perfect home, as she decides to embark on a pursuit for love, true happiness and adventure. 

The season two looks even more promising when it comes to the quintessential craziness of it, with a lot of love triangles. Best episodes were: Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith? and All Signs Point to Josh... Or Is It Josh’s Friend?

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Your Official 2018 Awards Season Movie Watchlist

A collection of fantastic films you probably haven't seen but really, really should.

With this year's Golden Globes now passed, 2018's awards season is finally kicking into high gear. If the eventful 75th Annual Golden Globes didn't satisfy your need for moving speeches or awkward encounters between celebrities, hopefully the upcoming Academy Awards will make up for it. For now, we'll have to wait until Oscar nominations are announced the last week of January.

If you're like most people, those esteemed Oscar-nominated (and eventually Oscar-winning) movies are usually ones you've never heard of before. With so many obscure films being thrust into the limelight, it can be hard for the average person to know which are worth watching, or which might be painfully slow and pretentious. This proves especially disappointing when you can't confidently cheer for your favorite film in a category of movies you never got the chance to see.

Thankfully, I've compiled a list of a 2018 Awards Season watchlist (in no particular order) to make your Oscar anticipation a slight bit easier. Here are the films from 2017 that will (almost) certainly make up the majority of Oscar categories:

2018 Oscar Contenders

"Wind River"

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Western

Rating: R

"Wind River" presents an intense crime drama that starts off slow and gradually builds up to a satisfying and climactic conclusion. The film features Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson (a pairing you might recognize as Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch), both of which give amazing performances and share a lot of fun chemistry.


"Call Me By Your Name"

Genre: Romance, Coming of Age

Rating: R

Explanation:

"Call Me By Your Name" is a coming-of-age tale set in Italy and centered around a 17-year-old boy who forms a relationship with a student working for his father. Its story covers the length of one summer as the two bond and discover more about themselves. It's been praised for its great performances, beautiful love story, and impressive cinematography.



"Get Out"

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Rating: R

Explanation:

You might be caught off guard seeing a horror movie getting considered a major Oscar contender, but "Get Out" completely deserves to be on this list. Jordan Peele's directorial debut proved not only an effectively terrifying horror flick but an astounding statement on the presence of racism in a modern setting. The film is rewarding because of the surprises involved, so I'll spare you the details so you can go check them out yourself.


"The Post"

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13

Explanation:

Hm, a Steven Spielberg film starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep? If there were a formula for making an award-winning movie, that'd definitely be it. Both actors showcase their dramatic acting talents in this historical thriller about journalists working to expose a deep-seated cover-up lasting three decades. The film sports an incredible ensemble cast and develops themes that reflect issues of the modern world.

"Lady Bird"

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Rating: R

Explanation:

Greta Gerwig's latest film "Lady Bird" has been a critical darling since it came out in November. Up until recently, it had maintained a solid 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, with critics praising lead Saoirse Ronan for her stellar performance. Now it sits at a disappointing 99% but has found even more success elsewhere, even winning Ronan the Golden Globe for Best Actress. The film centers around a complex mother-daughter relationship as they bond and grow to understand one another.


"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Genre: Crime, Drama

Rating: R

Explanation:

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" has been floating around a lot of 'Top 10' lists when it comes to 2017 films, so it's no surprise it dominated at the Golden Globes. The film won Globes for Best Actress, Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Screenplay.


"The Shape of Water"

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Rating: R

Explanation:

This movie is absolutely insane, and I think that's why it feels so fresh. Guillermo Del Toro's "The Shape of Water" is a fairy tale love story between a mute custodian and a government-hidden fish-man creature. Pretty much every time I've explained this movie to someone I've had to immediately follow it up with "It's good, I promise!" because of the face I get. The movie won Del Toro his first Golden Globe for Best Director and is sure to get some major recognition at the Oscars, so be sure to check it out if you get the chance!



"The Disaster Artist"

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Rating: R

Explanation:

For years, Tommy Wiseau's absurd film "The Room" has been regarded as one of the worst movies all time, so much so that it has gradually developed a cult following of fans who ironically enjoy it as an unintentional comedy. James Franco's "The Disaster Artist" follows Wiseau's story as he puts together a hilariously bad film and comes to appreciate the notability it brings him, even though it came in an unexpected way.

"Darkest Hour"

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13

Explanation:

"Darkest Hour" has been commended for a number of reasons, the most prominent being Gary Oldman's insane transformation into Winston Churchill, an achievement not only in make-up and costuming but also through Oldman's stellar performance. The film follows Churchill as he navigates a diplomatic dilemma in his first days as Prince Minister during World War II.


"I, Tonya"

Genre: Drama, Sports

Rating: R

Explanation:

"I, Tonya" is a darkly comedic rendition of the well-known story of professional figure skater Tonya Harding as she rises in the ranks of her sport until her career is threatened when her ex-husband intervenes. Many are praising Margot Robbie's performance as the titular main lead, and the supporting actors also work brilliantly to enhance the story's emotional appeal.


"The Florida Project"

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Rating: R

Explanation:

From Sean Baker, the director who previously made an acclaimed indie flick shot from an iPhone ("Tangerine" in 2015), comes a character-driven drama about an impoverished mother and her six-year-old child, told from the child's unique perspective. It's devastating and is sure to tug at your heart-strings, so make sure you're up for a good emotional cleansing before diving in.



Since so many of the award-winning films are low-budget indie projects, they typically don't open widely in the same manner that blockbusters do. They often only open in certain areas at certain times or get shown on a limited number of screens, so it's inevitable that the majority of them are going to get overlooked by general moviegoers.

This, of course, is a shame considering that these are almost always the films that push the limits of the medium as a means of artistic expression. These are the films that make bold statements about the world we live in and aim to inspire strong emotions, whether that be fear, joy, or motivation. So don't pass up on watching these types of movies, because catching just one could alter how you view the world.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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