‘Uncoupled’ review: Neil Patrick Harris stars in light-hearted drama on love, life and acceptance

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Neil Patrick Harris as Michael predictably steals the show, that presents a refreshing and enjoyable new take on normalizing gay relationships

Neil Patrick Harris as Michael predictably steals the show, that presents a refreshing and enjoyable new take on normalizing gay relationships

Uncoupled is a light-hearted, breezy series about a newly-single gay man in his late 40s, freshly out of a long-term relationship. Created by Sex and the City‘s Darren Star and veteran Jeffrey Richman, the series presents a refreshing take on modern-day dating, acceptance, love and life.

The Netflix original series revolves around Michael who is left by his partner Colin after a 17-year relationship. Over the course of eight episodes, the series charts Michael’s journey from being shocked at his boyfriend’s sudden departure, to ultimately accepting his new life.

Uncoupled

Directors: Andrew Fleming, Zoe R. Cassavetes, Peter Lauer

Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Tisha Campbell, Brooks Ashmanskas, Emerson Brooks, Marcia Gay Harden, Tuc Watkins

No. of episodes: 8

Storyline: A man has his life turned upside-down after his partner walks out on him after 17 years

The plot is set in the first episode itself where Colin tells Michael (a successful realtor in New York City) about his decision, just as the doors to the former’s surprise birthday party open with Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You playing in the background.

Predictably, Neil Patrick Harris as Michael steals the show with his charm. Michael is somewhat self-centred, as is disclosed in a couple’s therapy session; However, his warm nature and quick wit carry the show forward in style. Tisha Campbell as Suzanne perfectly complements Harris on his journey, whilst also having a storyline of her own.

For Michael, there is massive character development in a journey of self-discovery. As someone who has been out of the dating game for nearly two decades, the world of dating seems to have changed a lot.

From blaming himself for the break-up, to getting drunk and ending up being physically hurt, to jeopardising any new relationship that comes his way, Michael eventually grows into a person who understands how to let go of the past and move on in his life . After initially despicing his ex-boyfriend, he ultimately comes to terms with reality and even considers being friends with his ex, perhaps later in life. Michael soon realises that it is not always possible to get answers to all the questions in life, and that it is important to focus on and appreciate what we have , instead of crying over what is gone.

The series also highlights the importance of friendship, especially after a breakup. In stark contrast to Michael — who has the constant support of his friends — is 70-year-old Claire (Marcia Gay Harden), who was also left by her husband, but does not have any friends to share her worries with.

In recent times, numerous shows and movies have seen depictions of LGBTQIA+ relationships. However, Uncoupled presents a new take on normalizing gay relationships by moving away from the conventional storyline of gay couples facing trouble due to their sexual orientation, finally leading to a happy ending. The show talks about how, just like any heterosexual couple, homosexual partners also face problems such as falling out of love, the consequent separation, and so on.

Uncoupled Also hints at various other plot points and issues, but doesn’t dive too deep into them. Single motherhood is explored through the character of Suzanne, who is bold and unapologetic about her life choices. Claire, coming from a generation where gender fluidity didn’t even exist, is seen to be accepting her daughter who is non-binary. Another character, who steals the scene, is the female priest at the Jonathans’ wedding.

At one point, you do feel there could have been more depth to the show. Moreover, around the fourth and fifth episodes, the storyline seems to be getting monotonous. However, it picks up soon enough to get you hooked again, with the climax definitely being worth the wait as it leaves you wanting a next season!

Uncoupled is currently streaming on Netflix

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