10 October 2016 | The_late_Buddy_Ryan
The mumblecore guy reaches out to a wider audience
Joe Swanberg must've cashed in a lot of his indie cred to line up such an amazing cast for this N'flix series, though he stays true to his mumblecore roots with flat, functional dialogue (lift a glass of foamy craft lager every time somebody says "Awesome!") and rambling, open-ended plot lines. Even if you're unimpressed by the first few episodes, hang on for Ep 5, starring Mark Maron as a dickish graphic novelist who gets punked by a sexy artgirl. The others range from merely watchable to totally involving---gorgeous, posh-voiced Gugu Mbatha-Raw is perfect as an ambitious actress at a romantic crossroads in Ep 6. Btw, I never thought we'd get to see a sex scene involving Orlando Bloom and Kate Micucci (the brunette half of Garfunkel and Oates); I'm guessing they didn't either.
Season two is more of the same, which is mostly a good thing: the inarticulate craft-beer guys turn up for another dud episode, but OTOH Mark Maron's dickish graphic novelist is back, and the package-thief and open-marriage sexcapade eps are especially entertaining.
The third (and possibly final) season reprises some of the same characters and introduces a few new ones, but the writing seems uninspired. Nice to hear Melanie Lynskey speaking her native Kiwi in the Mark Maron episode, and Jacqueline Toboni ("Grimm") displays unexpected romcom chops in the only ep we really enjoyed.