6 February 2023

Single, middle-aged and riding an emotional rollercoaster with grace 

Brooks Ashmanskas, Neil Patrick Harris and Emerson Brooks in Uncoupled. Picture: Netflix.

By Tim Kroenert 

13 August 2022

When it started its run on HBO in 1998, Darren Star’s Sex and the City truly broke ground. Its frank, funny, heart-warming exploration of four independent women navigating adult life and relationships against a glamorous Manhattan backdrop was unlike anything that had been seen in TV sitcoms. Its focus on white, straight, well-to-do characters was admittedly narrow, but there was plenty of genuine human emotion to be found amid the fancy bars and outsized New York apartments. 

Star’s latest series Uncoupled operates in a similar milieu, in more ways than one. Instead of straight women in their 30s, the focus here is gay men hovering around 50. They’re on a similar social strata to Carrie and co, with every frame flaunting Big Apple opulence. Main character Michael (Neil Patrick Harris) is a successful real estate agent with digs in fashionable Gramercy Park. But like Carrie, he finds success in work doesn’t always equate to success in life. 

In the first episode, Michael is dumped by his long-time partner Colin (Tuc Watkins). Given no explanation for the sudden departure, Michael finds himself single and middle aged, and needing to get to know himself independent of the relationship he had thought was forever. Over the course of eight episodes he grapples with his anger, grief and confusion, he dates, and experiments with hook-up apps, and he just generally struggles to make sense of what has happened, and what comes next. 

In typical Star fashion, it’s sometimes ridiculous, and often crude. There are no holds barred in Michael’s conversations about sex and dating with best friends, art dealer Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas) and TV weatherman Billy (Emerson Brooks). But there is also plenty of warmth and emotional honesty in the portrayal of these friendships, and those he shares with recent wealthy divorcee Clare (Marcia Gay Harden) and his elderly upstairs neighbour Jack (Andre De Shields). 

These relationships carry the series a long way. They are depicted with surprising levels of nuance, a seemingly superficial or cliched character can reveal hidden depths in the space of a moment. It’s also carried by the performance of Harris. His Michael traverses the gamut of emotions that come with the end of any long-term relationship. Harris is a compelling screen presence and rides this emotional rollercoaster with such empathy and grace we can’t help but be carried along with him.  

Screening on Netflix. 

Share this story to your social media

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Find us on Social Media

Recent News

do you have A story?

Leave a Reply

Subscribe now to receive our newsletter and stay up to date with The Melbourne Anglican

All rights reserved TMA 2021

Stay up to date with
The Melbourne Anglican through our weekly newsletters.