Colin (Tuc Watkins) and Michael (Neil Patrick Harris) lie in bed on the morning of the former’s 50th birthday. Colin feels a bit too old and is insecure about going beyond fifty and entering a new phase in life. He asks for nothing fancy and quiet celebrations for the birthday.
Michael calms him down and arranges a nice dinner for just the two of them. Michael runs a successful real estate agency, while Colin is a hedge fund manager. Secretly, Michael has planned a surprise party for Colin, but little does he know that he himself has a big surprise coming his way.
He meets up with Suzanne Prentiss, his colleague, and friend, who informs him that Tyler Hawkins, a younger agent, has taken another one of their clients. They are ready to host new clients when Michael gets a phone call that his apartment has been robbed. But interestingly, only some everyday items are “missing”: Hermes towels, some clothes, bottles of wine. Michael is confused but carries on with the showing.
It is time for the party and Colin arrives. He has a solemn look on his face and readies himself to give Michael the big news. He is leaving him. As he delivers the news, Michael inadvertently reveals the surprise party that Colin will have to attend. It is not as awkward as we thought it would be. Michael’s friends, Billy, Stanley, and the Jonathans all congratulate him on the 17th year of his relationship with Colin.
Michael is in shock but goes along with it before letting it all out and giving a heartfelt toast to Colin. The two finally get a moment to process the big revelation. Michael is visibly and understandably furious. Colin is fraught with him for organizing the party when he asked for something low-key. He takes a cab and goes to the single apartment he has taken for himself.
The next morning, Michal receives a message from Colin that he has booked them an appointment with a couples counselor for the next day. Michael tells about Colin to Suzanne, who is equally incredulous. At Stanley’s art gallery, Michael discusses the counselor’s appointment with his friends. They warn him that he must not let go of Colin and he will come back to him. At Michael’s age, men become “invisible” to other men. The calmness is reassuring.
At the dinner party, Stanley seats Michael next to Claire Lewis (Marcia gay Harden), a wealthy art collector going through a divorce. She might have a listing that Michael can get his hands on and earn a fat commission and calls him to see the flat. The next morning, Michael goes to Claire’s how but not before getting an eye roll from the lobby man for shouting in the lobby. Claire’s luxurious 5000 sq ft apartment is truly gorgeous.
Claire explains her circumstance and Michael gradually realizes that it is the same for him as well. She is livid with her husband and thinks she will not find anyone at her age. She shouts profanities and curses as Suzanne walks in, late. The two eventually leave, unsure whether they will get the listing. They are heartbroken when they see Tyler going up the list to Claire’s house. He also lets them know she is a friend of his mother’s and that he will get the listing.
Michael and Colin attend the counselor’s session. The latter is still not forthcoming and is reluctant to confront the former’s accusations. Although they book the next appointment, Colin forgets to take Michael’s present. They had initially planned to go together to the party but Colin says he will come separately. But at the Jonathans’ party, Colin messages Michael that “they have nothing more to work on” and he isn’t coming. Michael prepares to drink away the night at his apartment but gets a phone call from Suzanne. She knows where Colin is – and who he is living with.
The Episode Review
Creators Darren Starr and Jeffrey Richman have created a pseudo Sex and the City reboot with modern sensibilities. Imagining a gay lead character so open-minded, comfortable, and seamless in the way he fits the scheme of things is a proud effort.
Episode 1 throws us right in the mix of things as the central conceit of the show – Michael moving on and discovering life beyond his domesticated walls – takes over. First impressions are really positive with some reservations over slight things. The peppy tone and tenor of Starr and Richman’s celebrated previous show are carried forward in Uncoupled. But it seems that they have learned their lessons and make the Netflix comedy-drama less soppy and more effective. Organization and structure are the headlines of episode 1 which ends on a sensationalist note.
It is our prayer and hope that Uncoupled does not simply become a one-dimensional show with biased priorities. The characters we meet seem meaty enough to flesh out full-blown people with interesting stories to tell. Episode 1 is a very good start for the show that seems just heavy enough to tick the seriousness touchpoints in the dramatic fabric of the storytelling. Neil Patrick Harris seems like an able lead and the character surely feels something where he can rediscover his form.