"Frod": no matter how much nudity there is, this is a clearly unsettling series
The Netflix series, which deals with a gay New Yorker who has returned to the modern single life after a long relationship, is the expected and formulaic daughter of "Just like that" and "The proudest there is".
Although the story is not new, the characters are not complex and the locations are not original, you can still have fun with it for a few non-binding hours
Monday, August 15, 2022, 00:09
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Trailer for the series "Uncoupled" with Neil Patrick Harris (Netflix)
Let's start from the end.
"Frod" is a cute series, with a great cast (the charming Neil Patrick Harris in a leading role) and you can definitely pass a few non-committal hours in front of Netflix.
It's a light and comedic drama about a New York man in his 40s who enjoys the routine and stability of a 17-year relationship, and suddenly he has to start rebuilding his life when his partner unexpectedly leaves home.
Suddenly Michael (Harris) has to get used to being single, in a world that has changed drastically since the last time he went out on dates.
From here the plot pretty much writes itself, and you can imagine for yourself the journey that Michael is about to go through, as he mourns his relationship, tries to understand what happened, resists the pressure of the environment to move on with his life, tries to overcome and acclimatize through a chain of men-for-one, etc.
Of course, he's not in his twenties anymore and has no idea what's going on in the dating scene and what it means to be single gay these days.
Luckily for Michael, he has a group of friends and girlfriends by his side whose job it is to support him while he undergoes a complete breakdown and concentrates on himself even more than before, and to explain to him how to make a "grinder", and that he must always have a dickpic picture available.
The group of gay besties around our hero includes the one who sleeps with everyone all the time and doesn't want to settle down, the one who doesn't succeed at all in relationships, and the best friend (and Michael's business partner) whose job is to be the straight woman and give that point of view as well.
True, it's not original, but all of them are successful and cute, and especially Tisha Campbell in the role of Susan the friend and Marsha Gay Harden in the role of the rich and extravagant customer stand out.
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Maxim in the lead role.
Neil Patrick Harris (Photo: Barbara Nitke/Netflix)
As part of Michael's work, he drags us to displays of crazy and insanely designed New York apartments that there is no chance of ever seeing in reality, and everyone in the series are real estate people, financiers, gallery owners, TV hosts... you know. All kinds of professions of people with lives Privileged, which looks good in New York when it's shot with as many filters to make it as mosh as possible. Did I mention that the series takes place in New York? Don't worry, no one will let us forget it. Every transition between scenes is accompanied by shots of the city at its sexiest, fantasy The perfection of sophistication, style, sass and the feeling that anything is possible. Really, it's been a long time since we had a sequel to "Sex and the City".
You won't be surprised to hear that Darren Starr, the one who invented "Sex and the City" is among others behind the series.
And the truth is, in a way, "Frod" is actually what "Just Like That," the modern remake of last year's "Sex and the City," wanted to be, and maybe could have been if it had been less hysterical.
Both deal with similar content - the loss of a relationship later in life, the sudden fall into the unforgiving world run by younger people who speak a language no longer understood by the protagonists, and of course, sex and trying to get into the most desirable clubs in New York.
Both have plus-plus affluent protagonists, who live fantasy lives with fantasy professions and fantasy apartments.
The matter is clear.
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Affluent heroes, living fantasy lives with fantasy professions and fantasy apartments.
From "Frod" (Photo: Netflix)
takes herself easy
In order to succeed where "Just Like That" got in trouble, "Frod" simply lowered the volume by 50%.
The sex is less scandalous (or we're not so easily shocked anymore), the awkward scenes are much more tolerable, and thank God we've been spared the unbearable puns that dominated the Sex and the City franchise.
But above all, "Frod" doesn't try so hard to adapt to the Wakeness era that it falls on its face, as we saw in "Simply Like This".
Yes, Michael has to learn how to date men after 17 years of monogamy, he has to learn how gay dating apps work in a somewhat unreliable segment ("What, they're messaging on Grindr even though they're right here with us at the club?"), he's shocked to find that today Condoms are no longer used, because the "young people" don't remember what it's like to live under constant fear of AIDS.
But none of these situations cross the line and become absurd.
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Did we mention that it all happens in New York?
No one will let us forget anyway.
From "Frod" (Photo: Barbara Nitke/Netflix)
"Just like that" collapsed under the burden of the representation that is expected of any television or film product today, but the starting point of "Frod" is easier in this section - it is a series about gays from the beginning, and it seems that was enough for them.
They didn't bother much beyond that, not even with LGBTQ representation (there isn't even an occasional lesbian). In general, there is a feeling that this is a series that takes everything quite easily: the story it tells is not new, the characters are not super complex, the locations are not original, it is simply chooses to tell a cute and standard story - which happens to be about a gay man and a community of gays.
So if you don't feel like comparing it to "Sex and the City" in the most obvious way, and play the favorite game "Who is the most Samantha" with the characters, you are invited instead to surf a wave of nostalgia that will bring you back to another groundbreaking series from the same era, "The Proudest" That".
What Carrie and her friends did to push boundaries and break glass ceilings when it comes to heteronormative female sex, Brian Kinney and his gang did for gays (and a little bit of lesbians) at the time.
It was a series that talked about and showed every position and every sexual, romantic and friendly situation possible in the dynamics of a family of friends, without hesitation and without apology.
She was also often ridiculous and the situations were extreme - with the aim of normalizing what was then a shocking taboo.
Everything that "Frod" does, "The proudest there is" did before it, and much, much more extreme.
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In fact, compared to the series from which it was born, "Frod" is really moderate and not exciting, no matter how naked Neil Patrick Harris will be and how much they will talk about genitals there.
She just doesn't have to fight anymore the wars her predecessors fought, because they did their job, and today nudity and sex and blunt language and sexual openness are mainstream.
If it has a statement, it's about the difficulties of people in their 40s who already feel lost in the world of the generations that came after them, and it's not a very poignant statement either.
And that's why "Frod" is just a cute series, with a great cast, with which you can definitely pass a few non-binding hours in front of Netflix, and that's it.
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