24 February 2018 | The_late_Buddy_Ryan
Unflinching Irish series explores how a friendship dissolves in alcohol
From the Netflix blurb, I was expecting something like an Irish "Broad City," but "Can't Cope"'s not your standard "edgy" sitcom by any means-it's more like a powerful indie film served up in half-hour installments. And, as I'm sure our heroines would agree, once you've got a couple under your belt, it's hard to stop bingeing (yeah?). At 27, Aisling ("Ashling")'s already a full-fledged "alco," albeit a high-functioning one--she's a good earner at an investment firm, at least at the outset. Danielle has a bit more impulse control, but she's still spinning her wheels at art school. They spend their off hours clubbing, drinking, hooking up (but only "with clean boys with jobs," explains Aisling to a sceptical pharmacist she's hoping will dispense a morning-after pill) and something they call "dogging"--sneaking around a secluded parking spot and pranking distracted lovers.
While Danielle takes a few tentative baby steps towards real maturity, Aisling seems headed for a vodka-fueled flameout. The final episodes explore what happens to an intense but unstable friendship if, in the words of the old Irish drinking song, "it should fall unto my lot/That I should rise while you should not." Seána Kerslake ("the Scarlett Johansson of Ireland"--similar foxy features, voluptuous figure and ferocious acting chops) gives an amazing performance as Aisling; the cliffhanger season closer should give you an appetite for the next one...
Update: Season two takes it down a few notches, so it's not so much a cautionary tale, less intense but still very entertaining. Aisling's more a slave to her cellphone now--like everyone else--than the demon drink. Danielle's trying for a fresh start at an art school in Vancouver. Trigger warning for our neighbors to the north: The one Canadian character who gets much face time is a caricature of a humorless PC prig. What's up with that?