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'Friends from College' is a bourgeois ‘Friends’

Netflix's new series also revolves around a group of wacky friends living in New York.
Friends from College
'Friends from College' debuts on Netflix July 14. Photo by David Lee / Netflix

So no one told life – after college – was gonna be this way. Cue the clapping.

From “Friends” to “How I Met Your Mother,” shows about wacky pals living in New York has pretty much turned into its own genre over the years. Now, Netflix is putting a bourgeois spin on the sitcom troupe with “Friends from College.”

Debuting Friday, the eight episode, half-hour series falls a bit short of being a complete comedy hit like the NBC and CBS multi-camera classics. However, “Friends from College” does provide plenty of laughs and hilariously raunchy moments with its cast of extremely privileged, but no less zany, characters.

The show revolves Ethan and Lisa, a semi-successful couple in their late thirties played by “Key & Peele” star Keegan-Michael Key and “HIMYM” alum Cobie Smulders, who reunite with their old Harvard buddies after moving back to the Big Apple. Although the duo enjoys hanging out with their grown-up college pals again, it’s not an easy situation to navigate for Ethan, as he’s been involved in a years-long affair with their mutual friend Sam (Annie Parisse), who’s also married.

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Unlike Monica, Chandler and the gang, the “Friends from College” group isn’t nearly as endearing or likeable, mainly because their day-to-day problems aren’t really relatable to anyone outside of the Upper West Side. Sure, the “Friends” crew wasn’t exactly strapped for cash, but they weren’t snorting Adderall at midnight to meet work deadlines or bothering fertility doctors at posh, speakeasy-style restaurants. The beautiful but bourgeois New York settings are part of the joke, though, as “Friends from College” doesn’t shy away from making fun of the upper class, city-dwelling lifestyle.

Not everyone will like Key’s adulterous Ethan, but he’s got that awkward yet kind Ross vibe that works well with Parisse’s Sam, who’s as fashionable as Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel, just with a bit more snark. Meanwhile Nat Faxon’s Nick and Jae Suh Park’s Marianne are like Harvard-educated and well-to-do versions of Joey and Phoebe.

Although Key, Smulders and the rest of the main cast turn in solid performances, it’s the recurring stars and guest appearances that really steal the show. Billy Eichner is absolutely hilarious as the deadpan Dr. Felix Forzenheim, a love interest for Fred Savage’s Max. And “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon shines as an off-the-wall young adult author.

“Friends from College” isn’t perfect, but it’s worthy of a weekend binge. Especially if you’re sick of watching “Friends” reruns.

“Friends from College” premieres on Friday, July 14, on Netflix.

 
 
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