On July 14 Netflix released Season 1 of its highly anticipated dramedy, Friends From College, which consisted of eight half hour episodes. And what ride it was during that time.
The show follows a tight-knit group of Harvard alumni as they navigate their ambitious yet clumsy and romantically intertwined lives in New York City. Keegan-Michael Key stars as Ethan, a struggling writer, who’s married to Lisa (Cobie Smulders). Even though Ethan is married to Lisa, he’s been having an affair with Sam (Annie Parisse) since college. Also part of the group is Nick (Nat Faxon), a unemployed party boy with a trust fund, Max (Fred Savage), who’s gay and a literary agent, and Marianne (Jae Suh Park), a hippie yoga instructor.
During the first two episodes, it demonstrated that Ethan was struggling with writing a best seller while the rest of the group was satisfied with where their lives were professionally. However, the first two episodes also showed that each of their personal lives was complicated.
On the other hand, we also couldn’t decide whether we wanted to continue watching the rest of the series or not. It was definitely an interesting watch, but there was nothing to pull you in and keep you in.
Then we got to episode three titled, “All-Nighter”, and things started to pick up. Ethan and Max pulled an all-nighter thinking of book ideas while taking drugs and playing ridiculously funny games. Meanwhile, Sam, Lisa, and Marianne went to a bar and met some older admirers. The episode as a whole wasn’t anything that hasn’t been done before, but for some reason, it worked. It was funny and brought a lot of laughs. And because of this, we went on to watch the next episode.
And thank goddess we did. During the episode “Mission Impossible”, Lisa and Ethan decided to do IVF treatments in order to get pregnant after years of trying. What was different about this was that not a lot of shows are truly showing what couples have to go through during this process. It was an aspect that worked and made the show stand out. Even though the treatment failed, it was a great piece of storytelling with a comical approach.
The next few episodes titled “Party Bus” and “Second Wedding” were incredibly funny and, again, different, but a different that worked. It was full of drama and laughs while showing that Ethan and Lisa were struggling in their marriage. There were even moments that suggested that something could happen between Lisa and Nick.
During all these episodes. the affair between Ethan and Sam was a driving force for the show. It affected their lives and also the lives of their friends. For Marianne, it was the secret she kept for her best friend, Sam.
It was in the last two episodes were when the obsession with this show and the relationships of these characters began. In “Grand Cayman”, Lisa went on a business trip to the Grand Cayman Islands and Nick volunteered to go with her, in order to save her from spending the week with her horrible colleagues. In the meantime, Ethan, Sam, and Max ventured up to Harvard where Ethan and Sam decided they needed to officially end their relationship. However, in the Cayman Islands Lisa and Nick started an affair.
Now, we have something to cheer for. Nick develops feelings for Lisa while she’s coming to grips with the fact that she has cheated. On the plane home, Lisa decides to tell Ethan, while Ethan decides he needs to come clean to Lisa about his affair. And nothing goes as planned.
The series ended its freshmen season on a high note. While we, at first, didn’t know how we felt in the beginning, by the end we were fully invested in the different relationships. Though they aren’t the married ones, audiences have something to look forward to and something to pull them back in if the show should get a second season. Grade: B.
This story was written by Samantha D’Amico.