Friends from College is a new series on Netflix, and it is about old friends from college (as the name says) who end up living together in the same city after living elsewhere for a while and partying as they used to when they were college students.
However, they are still trying to grow up and sort their lives out. While some have children and are financially well off, majority is still struggling to sort their careers out, or even settle down and have a family.
Ethan (Keegan Michael Key) is a writer who wrote two successful books only to realise he can’t write what he wants anymore but must turn to sci-fi to sell, as the times have changed. He and his wife Lisa (Cobie Smulders), also a college buddy and part of the group, can’t have a child so they go through expensive and painful medical treatments in an attempt to conceive a baby. His best friend from college Fred Savage (Max Adler) is now his agent, and eventually messes his career up because all partying (read, excessive consumption of alcohol and sometimes even drugs) made him forget that the idea for Ethan’s new book is something that is already being done by another author and that he participated in setting that project up while on a hangover. Ethan thus ends up writing a book someone else has written on a topic that never interested him in the first place.
Ethan also has an affair with his college buddy Sam (Annie Parisse). The affair started in college and continued while Ethan was living in Chicago with Lisa. When Ethan and Lisa return to the City, they all find themselves in the same gang partying, drinking and sometimes even doing drugs. The affair becomes difficult to handle and eventually, towards the end of the series, it all falls apart with truth coming to the surface.
As The Guardian argued the series is about Generation X being unable to grow up. Indeed, approaching 40s seems scary but at the same time, it no longer seems like we are becoming old but just a bit older and not quite youth yet. But, because of this view and the fact 40s are being seen as new 30s, people also just start thinking about settling down as they approach 40s.
I suppose this is OK. In the past, people were forced into settling too early and because of it there was a middle life crisis among many, marriages were falling apart, etc. As The Guardian also said, no wonder baby boomers were so obsessed with expensive cars, and turned towards infidelity and alcoholism. However, just deciding to sort your life out in your 40s is not an easy task either. This is what this series is about. It reminds of mega popular Friends just that in Friends the story unfolds with members of the group growing up and changing their lives, whereas here the characters show us that many do not want to change and ‘grow up’.
In addition, the series is also about showing us that we can’t just put the clock back and re-live our youth. It doesn’t work that way because not everyone is up for it, and not all partners will put up with that. Just like Savage’s boyfriend tells him, “Every time you get together with them, you all become a bunch of little bitches” and the relationship ultimately breaks apart. In other words, we need to live in our on time and if 40s are the new 30s then bring it on, but at its own pace and without reminiscing the past.
Thank you for reading.