Can men and women be friends without the complications of romance getting in the way? It’s a question that’s been asked in society and the notion has been portrayed countless times in pop culture for decades. The theory has been depicted in the 2011 film Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and most famously in the 1989 beloved rom com When Harry Met Sally… starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. What the new Apple TV+ series Platonic attempts to do is prove straight men and straight women can be friends with no strings attached, but that doesn’t mean drama won’t enter this form of a relationship.
Created by Francesca Delbanco, Platonic brings Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne back together, but this time on the small screen. Back in 2014, Rogen and Byrne played husband and wife Mac and Kelly Radner in Neighbors and then again in the 2016 sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Now in Platonic, Rogen and Byrne are taking their relationship to a more friendly nature as former best friends who reconnect at very different stages of life. Luke Macfarlane, Tre Hale, Carla Gallo, Vinny Thomas, Alisha Wainwright, and Andrew Lopez make up the ensemble cast.
The premiere of Platonic on Wednesday, May 24 brought three episodes running around 30 minutes each as viewers got familiar with cast. In the pilot we meet Sylvia (Byrne) a mother of three who maintains her household while her husband Charlie (Macfarlane) works at a law firm. When Sylvia hears that her former best friend Will, a “brew master” and owner of a successful pub, (Rogen) and wife Audrey (Wainwright) – who Sylvia never liked and was the reason the friendship fizzled – are divorcing she decides to reach out. The reunion is as awkward as you can imagine for friends who didn’t part on the best terms and try to reinsert themselves into the lives they know nothing about, but making the adjustments was a comical aspect of the show.
In episodes two and three, Will and Sylvia have unintentionally decided to become friends again. In one instance, Sylvia convinces Will to permanently shed ties with his ex-wife that leads to breaking and entering to retrieve a lizard and Will helps Sylvia reject the idea of renovating a creepy nursing facility into a house she knows isn’t the best fit for her family, but on the flip the destructive nature of their former friendship has them acting out of character resulting in a balance of earnest and humor in the show.
Watching Seth and Rose get reacquainted as Will and Sylvia was a highlight of the first three episodes. It’s clear the pair have a creative relationship that works, but the performances were nothing that hasn’t been seen before. Seth’s trademark stoner humor is what made him a household name and is scattered throughout the show.
Rose had standout moments alongside Carla Gallo’s character Katie reminiscent of the dynamic the two had in the Neighbors films. Gallo played Paula, a close friend of Mac and Kelly in those movies. In Platonic, both ladies are moms trying to figure out the “what’s next” stage of their lives. The scenes where they poke fun at being invisible and being older women next to a younger generation gave me laugh out loud moments.
Outside of the idea of Will and Sylvia being just friends, because there’s no inkling of the pair ever crossing that line, Platonic showcases adulthood in a way that can be relatable to the 35 and up viewers. Although Will and Sylvia are on different life paths, they connect in a way that’s needed when navigating the later stages of life. Will brings out the lighter and adventurous side of life that Sylvia needs in her often serious and mundane everyday routine while Sylvia provides some structure and ambition for Will that helps him upgrade his current situation. Life is all about balance and the upcoming episodes Platonic will test if that balance can be maintained.
New episodes of Platonic drop Wednesdays on Apple TV+ through July 12.