Quick media review - Uncoupled
A Review of the Showtime Series
Uncoupled is an eight-episode TV series that débuted on Showtime in 2023.
This romantic comedy is geared for those ages 18 and up as the shows include profanity, sexual situations with nudity, drinking, and drug use.
Created and co-produced by LGBTQ+ producers Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman along with actor Neil Patrick Harris in the lead role, the series tells the story of Michael Lawson, a New York City realtor. After a seemingly happy 17-year relationship, Michael’s partner, Colin, decides to walk out on him.
Their breakup leaves Michael, a middle age gay man, left having to come to terms with heartache all the while navigating the new dating world for gay men. With the help of close friends, Michael finds himself in many humorous encounters, which work to teach him who he is and what truly matters in his life.
Most importantly, Uncoupled addresses the subject of aging for gay men as well as the generation gap between younger and older gay men. From the start of their breakup, Michael is consumed by the belief that Colin has left him for a handsome, well-endowed twink (a young, skinny gay man with little body hair) even though there isn’t any proof of this. At the same time, Michael is in competition with Tyler, a younger gay realtor, as they both vie for the apartment sale from a wealthy client. Michael’s age continues to be a barrier in his love life since he begins his foray into the dating app, Grindr, and creates thirstrap selfies to comical effect. Eventually, his hookups reveal to him how his younger sexual partners, who were born during or after the height of the AIDS crisis, want to have unprotected sex in an age of PrEP pills. After his attempts at new relationships fail, Michael comes to the realization that he can’t force himself into a relationship with someone he is not fully committed to. In this way, Michael demonstrates a form of resiliency—a quality that members of the LGBTQ+ community express when they face adversity, believe in themselves, and show the world who they really are.
With a predominately LGBTQ+ cast and crew, Uncoupled adds to the growing representation of queer people and minorities in mainstream media. For instance, Michael is close to the couple nicknamed “the Jonathans.” They are an interracial gay couple with one Jonathan being Jewish while his husband is Puerto Rican, which is a rarity to see on TV. Michael’s coworker and straight best friend, Suzanne, is portrayed by Tisha Campbell. This casting choice allows viewers to gather the prospective of a Black woman in a space of mostly gay, white men.
Unfortunately, Uncoupled fails to deliver as a comedy besides the occasional laugh that comes from the actor’s use of profanity, poking fun at gay culture, and even the played-out fart joke. The story lines of the episodes are formulaic. And while Harris is believable in his role as Michael, he leans heavily into the stereotypical gay role by providing fashion advice and is labeled unathletic by those around him. Although Uncoupled does expand the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly for older gay men, the series lacks in its entertainment value. If you’re here for the growing representation this may be for you. If you’re looking mainly for comedy, this could a skip.
If you are questioning your identity or would like to talk about coming out, please contact the National LGBT Help Center through the support services listed below.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
LGBT National Coming Out Support Hotline: 1-888-688-5428 (1-888-OUT-LGBT)
LGBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-7743 (1-800-246-PRIDE)
LGBT National Senior Hotline: 1-888-234-7243
You can also reach out online at www.LGBThotline.org/chat