Netflix’s Easy Does It
Netflix’s latest bingeable series Easy features loosely connected vignettes of Chicagoans stumbling through the myriad of trials and tribulations of love, sex, money, aging, and technology. It’s funny, boring, challenging, and really fucking interesting.
The brainchild of writer, director, creator Joe Swanberg, Easy gives us a feel of “realness” that diverts from the typical “they fell in love and had sex and had one big fight but s/he said they were sorry so now that’s that” type narrative or even the “they’ve been married for a long time and now they rediscover each other through adventure” barf fest.
That being said, the show exclusively features middle class folks with beautiful homes, people who are movie star gorgeous (Orlando Bloom), and no one seems to worry about condoms or STIs. That aside, the performances are solid with Swanberg’s “semi-improvisational” style compelling the plethora of talented folks to bring some truly intimate and authentic feeling moments.
The very first episode lures us in with questions about gender roles in the home and sex. Can you still fuck your incredibly out-of-your-league wife if she’s the sole bread winner and you (Michael Chernus) can’t stop thinking your child rearing position makes you less desirable? Can she continue to have desire for you? Will you ever fuck like you used to? “The F**king Study” is a hard pill two swallow with a nuanced performance (Elizabeth Reaser) that leaves you wanting to pick at the dropped threads of the open ended conclusion.
Compromise is the one fucking the most people. Whether it’s lesbian limerence that leads to the very graphic description of why one would go vegan explained to children (Keirsey Clemons), or the marital implications of a clandestine brewery (Evan Jonigkeit). Hannibal Buress does some investigative reporting, but you’ll be sure to have your own in-depth queries as well.
There many be a point where you start to think the series has tilted into a vomitous exercise examining navel gazing hipster weirdos (Dave Franco), and then there’s a goddamn episode where a graphic novelist (Mark Maron) is literally forced to confront his literary practice of using people from his life in his work. Who knew ethical questions could be this entertaining?
Easy very loosely constructs a connection between these stories; however, one does feel as though there is a missed opportunity to create a more fully fleshed out narrative. Speaking of flesh, who hasn’t thought about what it would be like to have a threesome? Porn gives us these trumped up fantasies about MFF three ways, and there’s nothing like Kate Muccuci singing to baby to bring us all back down to earth.
Jane Adams gets a special shout out in my books for the portrayal of an aging actress. She gives life advice to her younger co-star (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with a tender, nuanced, and slightly clumsy touch.
Easy zooms in on the mundane, messy, and intimate moments make up the every day life. It’s a voyeur’s dream and a great way to start conversations about the maze that is human interaction. All eight episodes are streaming now on Netflix.