The F***ing Study
Art and Life
Although Easy is labelled as a comedy, it’s anything but. This drama-romance anthology of unconnected stories explores different groups of people in different stages of their life as they search for happiness and love in Chicago. With the exception of a few episodes, many of the stories feel like they’re building toward something and then anticlimactically end making Easy more of a passive, indifferent watch than it should be. This lack of a satisfying climax to many of the episodes certainly hurts the overall effect in a show that otherwise manages to please, but never delight, with its collection of tales.
With each episode taking on a different set of characters and circumstances, there’s a good variety of attitudes toward love, sex and relationships that make Easy refreshingly different from other anthology shows on the market. It could be argued that this sort of conflict has been done numerous times in other shows but the way Easy takes on a variety of different characters rather than just one group helps it stand out. As an interesting inclusion, some of the episodes see characters from previous episodes spill over as minor characters helping to sell the illusion that all these stories take part in Chicago. The episodes feature a range of divergent ideas including a lust less couple trying to spice their relationship up, a woman changing for her new lover and a couple experimenting by having a threesome. The inclusion of an underlying thematic message in each of these episodes is a smart one but at times Easy is a little ham-fisted with its approach, unintentionally coming across as preachy and condescending. Coupled with the indifferent attitude Easy adopts to rounding out the stories and characters, this anthology is more of a mixed bag than it should be.
Thankfully, each episode is graced by some well written dialogue and realistic depictions of people. There’s certainly something for everyone here and this broad approach to viewing the different attitudes toward love and sex help Easy broaden its reach to a wide audience. If there’s one stand out episode here, its Art & Life. This well-rounded episode explores people who use art to convey their life and has a good narrative structure throughout. There’s a strong theme at work here and the way the episode manages to cleverly explore this through the conflict between the two artists manages to strike the right balance. If anything, this episode really showcases just how gripping this show could be had the rest of the series followed this example.
The individual elements of Easy all work harmoniously together but the end product just misses the mark from what could otherwise be a great anthology series. The camera work and cinematography in general is good too although its far less experimental than some of the plots and characters. Whilst it doesn’t make a difference to the overall appeal of the show, it may have gone some way to disguise the lack of direction and focus on rounding out each story which fizzles out with a whimper rather than ending with a bang or a thought provocative note. With a second season already green-lit, it’ll be interesting to see if the stories follow the same unfocused approach the first season adopts or if it tightens its approach. There’s certainly a great show in here somewhere but its lost in a collection of episodes that feel in need of a little more direction to really hit home with the attitudes to love and sex it depicts.