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Home»Review»Uncoupled review: Neil Patrick Harris stands out in a breezy show that has nothing new to add»

Uncoupled review: Neil Patrick Harris stands out in a breezy show that has nothing new to add

While Neil Patrick Harris stands out as Michael Lawson, the show in itself has nothing new to offer. But if you are a fan of the actor, the show about a man trying to find love again in New York City is a breezy watch that has a few laughs.

3/5rating
  • Akshay Krishna

Last Updated: 03.51 AM, Jul 31, 2022

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Uncoupled review: Neil Patrick Harris stands out in a breezy show that has nothing new to add

Story: Michael Lawson (Neil Patrick Harris) is a New York City real estate agent who has just been dumped by his partner of 17 years. Not having explored the waters of the great city in over a decade, he now has to get back on the horse and try to find love again.

Review: Neil Patrick Harris has etched himself into television history with some unforgettable characters, such as Doogie Howser from Doogie Howser, M.D. and Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. It is safe to say that the actor’s latest appearance as Michael Lawson, a New York City real estate agent in Netflix's Uncoupled, is not as memorable.

He gets dumped over text by his partner of 17 years, and he has no idea what pushed Colin (Tuc Watkins) to make such a decision. While he tries to figure out what went wrong, he decides to return to the dating scene and soon realises that being a single gay man in New York City has its ways.

While we get an amble taste of the majestic city, from massive art galleries to penthouse apartments that are going up for sale, the show really misses out on a chance to really take our breath away. For a man who has just got into the dating pool, everything that happens in the show is doused with water: from his sex life to the emotional baggage that he is carrying. Uncoupled takes the easy route out, opting to rather skip important conversations and plot points and turn up the colours of the show, which helps in giving the show a tone of forced happiness.

There is an instance where Michael runs into his couple therapist at a bar where the expert moonlights as a singer with "Miss Communication." After a short conversation, the therapist goes ballistic and shares his piece of mind with the protagonist, which is rather odd. One has to question if a professional would ever choose the words that he did, even if they are in character. But this is a choice that the show decides to make time and time again when it comes to the mental state of Michael. Even when something serious does happen in his life, we get to see him have a short conversation with his best friend before rather gracefully shifting from the topic. One would expect a man who has just been forced to be single after a monogamous relationship of 17 years to have his fair share of problems and baggage, but Uncoupled would rather keep it fun and breezy than real.

There are some interesting people that Michael does run into, mostly thanks to the show’s New York City setting, where gay folks are accepted and loved, despite this not being the case for LGBTQI+ folks around the world. But if you are ready to give into the world the show wants to portray, it does offer a few characters that entertain in one way or the other. From the rich Italian businessman with whom Michael has a daytime fling in hilarious style thanks to Grindr, or the young man who opens Michael's eyes to the idea that condoms are a thing of the past. Again, one has to question whether someone who has adapted quite nicely to modernity, such as Michael, would have come across the concept of the use of prophylactic medication to prevent the transmission of HIV.

Despite all its shortcomings, Uncoupled still does the trick. The eight-episode series is breezy and gives the viewers nothing to care about but how the protagonist wants to feel about his break up. It is a fun and entertaining watch despite all its quirks, which look like a choice that the writers willingly made. While it has to be said that the show and its story bring nothing really new to the table, it is still a comedy about a man trying to find love again that I wouldn’t mind watching.

Neil Patrick Harris stands out in the show as Michael, and it looks like he had a ball playing the character's emotional side. His acting has never been in question and he excels every time he has to tear up or feel like his life has a massive roadblock. And this goes without saying, but the actor also simply powers through the comedy scenes in the series like a seasoned pro. But then again, we are talking about someone who has been making people crack up since the age of just 16.

While Tisha Campbell as Suzanne Prentiss, Michael’s business partner, and Marcia Gay Harden as Claire Lewis, a top-tier client with a stunning penthouse to sell, all do a good job, all of them still end up not being able to shine above Neil Patrik Harris.

Despite the fact that Michael’s character was let down by the writers who decided to not explore his mental state or his persona, which was called by one of his dates "bitter old queen" and as a narcissist who just listens to his own voice talking to his therapist, one could forgive this for what the show has to offer.

Verdict: Uncoupled does not have a new plot or even a new setting, which may anchor the show for some viewers. However, Neil Patrick Harris shines in the series, delivering a standout performance that could still attract your attention. If you do love a good comedy about someone trying to find love, the show would be an entertaining watch.

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