- David Zak
UNCOUPLED Is Unsettled
Tuc Watkins is one of the most underutilized gay actors in Hollywood. He's handsome, intelligent, sexy, and once again doomed to play a small role in a series in which he is the most intriguing character. He appears as Colin in only the first and last episodes of UNCOUPLED. After 17 years, he left Michael (Neil Patrick Harris) without a word of warning. You will find out why, but I wish we had heard it from Colin directly.
Michael sells top-of-the-line homes in Manhattan; usually multiple leveled and ideally with a terrace. He is cutthroat and unlikeable. When Colin invites him to couple therapy, he cannot get a word in, as Michael talks the entire time.
You might think the post-therapy episodes would see Michael learn how to listen and develop what it takes to be in a relationship. But instead, Michael crashes into several men whom he beds and rejects. He is shocked to learn you need a dick pick for Grinder, and men on Prep no longer use condoms. After 17 years off the market, he has a lot to learn.
Brooks Ashmanskas plays the Nathan Lane role - the comic punching bag for many jokes. Even his breast cancer diagnosis is played for laughs. The other characters describe his friend Billy (Emerson Brooks) as a shallow narcissist, which fits. Tisha Campbell plays Michael's work wife, and her storyline as a single mom takes some interesting twists and turns. Marcia Gay Hayden is strangely muted as a woman whose money can buy anything except family and friends.
TV veterans Darren Star (Sex and The City) and Jeffrey Richman (Modern Family) must think they have another hit on their hands, as the series ends with a setup for a sequel. There are many unresolved issues and an emotionally unearned coda. But much of it seems an unsettled reach of comic and serious tones.
After decades in the business, Harris easily exudes winsome charm and shallow regret. His timing is always good, but I don't think this series showed any signs of his talent we have not already seen. Perhaps, in future seasons, we will be treated to a Michael drawn from a deeper well of emotions.
UNCOUPLED's rhythm, soundtrack, and visuals mimic the successful SATC brand. The houses, food, drinks, costumes, and shirtless men who stroll by are all thist traps. A predictable trip to a gay ski weekend leaves some bruises that - with some make-up - become non-painful.
There are plenty of Queer movies out there that are visionary and forward-looking. I liked My Fake Boyfriend and Anything's Possible. The gay film fest hits from 2021 - Beyto, Firebird, Mascarpone - are all streaming. But UNCOUPLED - from its uninspired title treatment to stale dialogue and tacky jokes - s the throwback that nobody asked for.