Friends from College tells the story of a group of people, Ethan Turner (Key) a struggling author and his wife Lisa (Smulders) moving back to New York City and reconnecting with old College friends. Friends including Sam (Parisse), Ethan's recurring fling, Nick (Faxon) a party-boy and ex-boyfriend of Lisa, Marianne a struggling actress cast in a series of bizarre plays and Max (Savage) the gay friend that helps Ethan write a book he is not passionate about. The series revolves around numerous hi-jinks/misadventures the group encounters, such as Ethan and Lisa trying to conceive a child, Ethan and Sam reconnecting and hiding their affair as well as Lisa trying to survive in a Wolf-of-Wall-Street-esque office. There other smaller subplots in the show however these are the biggest ones.
I have liked quite a few of Nicholas Stoller's past projects including Muppets, Storks, Neighbours, however I have no idea what happened here. This is a comedy with hardly any laughs, abhorrent characters that make idiotic mistakes and predictable drama that feels like it is following a trotted out formula. Each actor in the show is very talented and wasted in this show, Ethan's main source of humour is doing voices that never produce so much as a chuckle, even from his friends and wife. Or Nick is just so promiscuous and immature, in my head I kept saying: "Grow up". Also it goes for Sam, the richest friend from the group unsatisfied with her life, to some degree I could understand being unfulfilled, however she has a husband and two kids that love her, a nice house and beautiful summer home, and a 20-year fling on the side. The other characters have their moments but are shortcut by more worse plots.
The stories that follow are predictable and tired, there really is nothing unique or new this show has done that any other show has not already. When it comes to the fertility story line, it seems like Ethan and Lisa will miss a deadline and lose money on IVF but luckily they have a friend who saves the day. When it comes to the affair, a numerous amount of coincidences prevent their spouses from finding out their secret love until it needs to be revealed at the end. As for Lisa's new job, each of her colleagues were so obnoxious you just waited for her to explode and when she does it there really is no sense of relief, I wanted her to stay in the job because it made her miserable.
As for positives, there are a few, it is shot well, by which I mean the lighting was good and I could see what was happening at all times, which I could not say about shows like 13 Reasons Why or Game of Thrones. The directing was alright as well, the use of hand-held I thought gave a sense of uneasiness in the characters which was effective in the confrontation scenes. Also Max's partner Felix (Eichner) was probably the only character I could understand, (which maybe a negative since he was a total buzzkill to the group). I do not have a problem with the performances or the acting just the characters.
The main problem of this show is that it relies heavily on cringe comedy, it succeeds in making me cringe however does not succeed in making me laugh. Cringe comedy can be funny, but it cannot be the main source of jokes, sooner or later, I will just start to hate these characters, and it only took me two episodes. Frankly the most surprising this about this show is the lack of chemistry these talented actors have, if this were real life, I would not even know why these characters would keep in touch after all these years, let alone be friends in the first place.