appointment viewing

Let the Geriatric Millennials Have Some Fun

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Apple TV+

We get it: There’s an overwhelming amount of television right now. The streaming landscape is an impractical maze, and the good stuff easily gets lost in the shuffle. But most of us can still find one show that cuts through the noise. We call this Appointment Viewing — or the time you carve out in your busy schedule to watch the show you’ll want to unpack with your friends when it’s still on your mind the next day. Tune in each month to read what writer Michel Ghanem, a.k.a. @tvscholar, deems worthy of a group-chat deep dive.

So far, we’ve covered HBO’s mushroom zombie hit The Last of Us, followed a fictional 1970s band on Prime Video’s Daisy Jones & the Six, taken a double dose of Rachel Weisz on the unsettling Dead Ringers (also on Prime Video). This month, we take a lighter turn to watch Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen’s misadventures on Apple TV+’s new comedy Platonic.

What is this Seth Rogen buddy comedy I’m hearing about?

In ten half-hour episodes, Platonic follows two former friends, Sylvia and Will (Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen — both in top form), who reconnect and start spending a lot of (platonic) time together during the destabilizing period toward midlife. In the years since their friendship temporarily ended, Sylvia has put her law career on the back burner to raise three kids with her husband, Charlie (Luke Macfarlane), and Will has become a brewmaster at a hip brewery he co-owns. The show begins as they reunite after Will’s divorce and chronicles their misadventures to great comedic effect.

As we know from their time playing a married couple in the movie Neighbors, Byrne and Rogen have effortless chemistry. Here, they are back in their element playing archetypes not too far removed from their actual selves: Byrne embodies Sylvia with a buttoned-up suburban rigidity (and uses her rarely showcased natural Australian accent), and Rogen plays an IPA-drinking hipster with a ’90s-adjacent maximalist fashion sense. As they grow closer, Sylvia begins to find joy in Will’s devil-may-care lifestyle while Will starts to figure out what he wants out of his life postdivorce, thanks to Sylvia’s more grounded advice. They are great foils for one another, which makes their odd and dorky friendship heartwarming to watch.

Where can I watch it?

The first three episodes will be available on Apple TV+ as of Wednesday, May 24, with subsequent episodes airing weekly until July 12. Platonic feels right at home next to the platform’s other comedies, but this may be its breeziest one yet — Ted Lasso, Shrinking, and Byrne’s very own Physical all lean toward the dramatic by unpacking and examining the lead characters’ trauma. I appreciate what each of these shows achieves, but I understand why Netflix’s dating competition du jour always seems to capture the attention of the masses: We occasionally need to turn off our overstimulated brains. That’s not to say this series feels like watching a reality show, but Platonic stays delightfully closer to the surface. If you liked Loot, the Maya Rudolph–fronted workplace comedy from last summer, and previous film and TV work by producing couple Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco, Platonic is probably for you.

Okay, but isn’t this premise a little dated?

Fans of Neighbors and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, both in part created by Stoller, will definitely find remnants of that 2010s era of millennial comedy. Stoller directed last year’s gay rom-com Bros, and he created Netflix’s Friends From College with Delbanco, which was poorly received by critics but feels like a predecessor in some ways to the more refined, focused friendship on Platonic. That said, not every joke lands here — the first episode includes a tasteless conversation about Shia LaBeouf being good in bed, for example. I was initially concerned that the show leaned too heavily toward gender essentialism in the way of “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” But the tone becomes balanced a few episodes in, thanks to some hilarious physical comedy from both leads and a supporting cast with plenty to chew on. There is a lightness that feels comforting in a television landscape of hour-long intensive dramas, and I gleaned a few chuckles from full-on millennial nostalgia — like a hysterical performance of a Nicki Minaj song and a handful of other clever references to the aughts.

On the outset, it may seem like the show is reviving an old rom-com genre in the style of No Strings Attached or Friends With Benefits, but Platonic stays truer to its title. Think less “Will they won’t they?” and more, like, two seemingly mismatched friends navigating their midlife crises. In some ways, it is the comedy equivalent of this year’s Fleishman Is in Trouble, which assesses seemingly static identities in midlife. But instead of flashbacks to the unhappy days of a turbulent marriage, Platonic opts for day drinking and ketamine-fueled misadventures as Sylvia and Will’s lives become more entangled.

As with most pairings on television, the possibility of romantic involvement is always the elephant in the room, but Platonic avoids clichés of infidelity by allowing both characters to have fully fleshed-out lives (including a surprisingly communicative marriage between Sylvia and her husband). In this show’s world, friendship is a refuge from taxing adulthood responsibilities like divorce, running a business, and maintaining a marriage while raising three kids.

When things go awry in Sylvia and Will’s individual lives, we become accustomed to seeing them call each other for help and advice, shooting the shit over beers, painting their nails, kicking over city e-scooters around Los Angeles, and growing closer despite life’s inconveniences. As rainy spring days turn to hot summer nights in the next few weeks, that’s the kind of easy, breezy content I want to watch while sipping a cold beverage.

Let the Geriatric Millennials Have Some Fun