July 14th, 2017
Created by Nicholas Stoller (best known for directing Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek) and Francesca Delbanco, Friends from College is a comedy/drama about six Harvard alumni in their late thirties living in New York City, and explores the conflicts of both their romantic relationships and strained friendships.
The leads are all fantastic actors and comics. The “friend group” includes a struggling novelist Ethan (Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele), his wife Lisa (Cobie Smulders, How I Met Your Mother), glamorous Sam (Annie Parisse) with whom Ethan is having an affair, party boy Nick (Nat Faxon) who is also Lisa’s ex, Ethan’s agent Max (Fred Savage) and the kooky floater Marianne (Jae Suh Park).
Aside from the presence of Colbie Smulders (who, for me, will always be Robin Shcerbatsky), the premise of the show sounded a lot with the setting of How I Met Your Mother. As well as the New York backdrop, the show explores how the friendships forged in youth are tested against time and the stresses of the real world. The observations of the friends’ partners—those outside the “group”—and the way their immaturity and obsessive competing affects their other relationships is also particularly interesting.
I think the key to enjoying this show is to recognise that it’s not about a group of fun and quirky characters who get into mischief. It’s about selfish and arrogant people who call themselves friends but clearly don’t like each other anymore. In some ways it subverts the themes that Friends established all that time ago—turns out it’s not that easy to go on supporting and believing in each other forever, and at the end of the day, friendship won’t fix everything. It’s depressing, but it makes things that much more engrossing.
Friends from College is so well written, truly funny and honest, and just all round good television. It ended with the suggestion of more to come, and there’s no doubt I’ll be watching.