Picture this: A show about the loves and losses of six friends living in New York. I’m not talking about the hit NBC sitcom Friends, but Netflix’s new comedy series created by Francesca Delbanco and Nicholas Stoller which premieres on July 14, Friends from College.
The concept is essentially the same, but instead of 20-somethings, the friends are 40-somethings, and this makes all the difference.
What’s it about?
Sam, Nick, Lisa, Ethan, Marianne, and Max are best friends from college. Twenty years later they all find themselves back in New York, and the friend group looks to keep up the same relationships they had while living in their dorm rooms.
Things have changed, though. Ethan and Lisa are married and working on having a child. Sam’s got a high-end job and her own family to worry about. Max’s got a sophisticated boyfriend and books to publish. Marianne’s acting in yet another fringe play, and Nick’s busy finding his new young hot fling.
The other problem is Sam and Ethan have been having an affair for the past 20 years, and now they won’t be able to hide it with their spouses living in the same city.
While the friend group still gets drunk together, grabs each other’s crotches, and still uses their pet names from college, it becomes abundantly clear to everyone else but them, that they’re too old for these shenanigans.
Friends from College is tragic, at times, but it’s also funny as hell. The show has everything from absurd laugh-out-loud situations—like when a poor bunny becomes a deadly accomplice to Sam and Ethan’s affair—to hold-your-breath-as-you-watch-a-car-crash-happen moments—like when Ethan and Lisa’s marriage begins to implode.
Who’s in the cast?
You’ll notice a few of the cast members are veterans from other successful TV shows. Cobie Smulders brings that relatability from How I Met Your Mother to Lisa, even when she strays from her strict moral code.
Keegan Michael Key of iconic Key & Peele fame plays Ethan with his usual flair of an ordinary dude thrust into extraordinary situations.
Then there’s Fred Savage of The Wonder Years, who brings such a delight to Max, especially as he helps his friend try to figure out the “bathtub moments” in young adult novels.
The other half of the friend group is just as compelling. Annie Parisse as Sam possesses grace and poise and just the correct amount of neuroticism and insecurity. Nat Faxon brings his usual playfulness to Nick’s trust-funded lifestyle.
Last, but most certainly not least, there’s Jae Suh Park as Marianne. She makes her friends watch her play Stanley in a gender-swapped A Streetcar Named Desire. She lets a young kid drive an SUV and drink two red bulls. I missed her when she wasn’t in scenes. We definitely need to see more of her in season 2.
There’s also a host of great guest stars from the insatiable Kate McKinnon, to Seth Rogen, and Billy Eichner, who tries so hard to like his boyfriend Max’s friends.
Why should I care?
Friends from College isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s blatant sex and profanity along with real-life struggles like the painful bruises on Lisa’s stomach from her fertility shots. It’s relevant to the twenty-somethings, the forty-somethings, and everyone else in between or after. Friends from College isn’t the light, airy fare of the ’90s. It’s more mature. Even if the characters aren’t.