Neil Patrick Harris spent 9 seasons enjoying charming womanizer Barney Stinson on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, and in his new Netflix comedy Uncoupled, his character Michael additionally wears good fits and lives in New York City. But in different methods, Michael is the exact opposite of Barney: a mild-mannered homosexual man who has been fortunately coupled up along with his boyfriend for the previous 17 years. That happiness all comes crashing down, although, and Uncoupled — premiering this Friday; I’ve seen 5 of the eight episodes — is a mildly gratifying, surprisingly dramatic take a look at Michael’s new life as a instantly single homosexual man in his 40s.

Uncoupled Netflix Tisha Campbell Neil Patrick Harris

To everybody else, Michael and his boyfriend Colin (Tuc Watkins) appear like the picture-perfect couple, however photos could be deceiving: Colin abruptly dumps him simply as they’re strolling into the lavish fiftieth birthday bash Michael threw for him. (Great timing.) Blindsided and devastated, Michael leans on his buddies for assist after the breakup: Suzanne (Tisha Campbell), his sassy colleague at a high-end actual property agency, and Billy (Emerson Brooks) and Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas), his quippy homosexual friends who like to sip wine and gossip. Plus, Michael strikes up an unlikely bond along with his demanding consumer Claire (Marcia Gay Harden, having a variety of enjoyable right here) over their shared heartbreak.

Darren Star created the sequence together with Modern Family alum Jeffrey Richman, and he appears to be going for the sunshine, bubbly rom-com vibe of his different reveals Sex and the City and Emily in Paris. (It’s undoubtedly good to have a look at, with plenty of lovely costly flats and fabulous events.) The trailer guarantees plenty of wacky relationship hijinks, however that’s truly a bit deceptive: Uncoupled is extra of a dramedy, with a deep emotional undercurrent as Michael tries to make sense of his ache and grief. Harris performs the devastation effectively, bringing sudden depth to the position. The scene the place a freshly dumped Michael has to placed on a courageous face and make a birthday toast to Colin is a outstanding balancing act, and Harris pulls it off with ease.

Uncoupled Netflix Episode 3 Gilles MariniUncoupled is at its greatest when Michael is dipping his toe in a really totally different and scary relationship pool filled with Grindr DMs, dick pics and carefree unprotected intercourse — a prospect that scares the hell out of him after rising up within the AIDS period. (“I can’t get turned on when all I can see is my name on that quilt,” he explains to his clueless millennial hookup, who replies: “What quilt?”) Michael desires old style dates and romance, however do these even exist anymore? It’s fertile floor for comedy, however the sequence prefers to remain centered on Michael’s heartbreak — perhaps a bit an excessive amount of. (I get that he wouldn’t recover from Colin in a single day, however can’t we skip forward to the enjoyable stuff?)

Watching Uncoupled is a nice sufficient expertise, however truthfully, I didn’t discover myself laughing very a lot. Outside of Michael and Claire, the characters don’t actually stand out or seize our consideration, and the punchlines are largely stale and predictable. I’d like to see a modern-day homosexual rom-com with the surprising frankness of classic Sex and the City, however Uncoupled pulls its punches too typically; it’s extra delicate than spicy, though it airs on a streaming service with zero content material restrictions. It’s nearer in tone to the later seasons of Sex and the City, when it ventured into dramedy territory, however that was earned by years of nice writing and cautious character constructing. Uncoupled may get there — and it’s a strong car for Harris’ abilities regardless — nevertheless it’s not fairly there but.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Neil Patrick Harris is nice as a instantly single homosexual man in Netflix’s Uncoupled, however the jokes may use a makeover.

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