In this installment of 3 Reasons to Watch, we look at the Platonic, the surprisingly good comedy from stoner whisperer Seth Rogen, luminous star Rose Byrne and husband and wife writers/directors Francesca Delbanco and Nicholas Stoller.
In the show, which premiered last month on Apple TV+, Byrne and Rogen star as friends who become awkward appendages of each other’s already messy lives. Here’s why you should take a chance on Platonic.
3 Reasons to Watch: Platonic on Apple TV+
Will (played by Rogen) and Sylvia (Byrne) were best friends from college until their late 30s, when Will was getting married to Audrey (Alisha Wainwright) and Sylvia made it clear she thought Will was making a mistake. Fast forward a couple of years, and Will is getting divorced.
Sylvia decides to reach out to her old pal. Their reconnection is not without bumps and low points, but the two quickly become inseparable — much to the chagrin of his business partners and her husband. Here are a few reasons to watch the charming comedy.
1. Platonic is a showcase for Rose Byrne
Though Rose Byrne’s first Apple TV+ show Physical, re-enunciated her bona fides as dramatic talent, her comedic skills aren’t remarked (or capitalized) upon nearly as often. As seen in Get Him to the Greek, Bridesmaids, Neighbors and especially Spy — Byrne’s funniest role to date — she can command a scene or indeed an entire movie with physical presence and comedic prowess.
Platonic allows her to play an everywoman who puts up with everything life throws at her until her friendship with Will grants her permission to finally start taking jabs at everyone and everything. She’s consistently the funniest part of the show. Watching Byrne squirm her way out of situations she causes by being uncouth in Platonic is a consistent marvel.
2. A realistic and stressful dynamic
The crux of Platonic is the tension that develops between not just Will and Sylvia but among the people in both friends’ lives. The strongest iteration of this dynamic comes in episode 5, when it comes out that Sylvia’s husband, Charlie (Luke Macfarlane), told his co-workers about Will and Sylvia’s closeness, and we discover that Will has been keeping a new relationship a secret from Sylvia.
The ways in which friends shield each other from their romantic entanglements because the nature of their own connection is sometimes ineffable and undefined, the ways in which spouses harbor resentment and jealousy so as not to rock the boat in their marriages — all of this rings deeply true, even in the context of a comedy that sometimes scrapes the limits of behavioral believability. The dynamic serves as a steady, sturdy anchor for a show that needed one.
3. Rube Goldberg comedy
Platonic gets a lot of mileage out of escalating madness in its comedic set pieces. From the theft of a pet lizard comes accusations of infidelity. From Sylvia accidentally defacing a painting comes an all-night chronicle of poor fortune. Even a harmless trip to a chain restaurant spills into a bizarre altercation with a millionaire sex criminal.
On Platonic, the littlest things snowball into major problems in the most silly and offbeat — but very entertaining — ways. Seeing Rogen try to bark, and Byrne wriggle out of culpability for their ridiculous behavior, is worth the price of admission. (Not to mention how they feed into each other’s performances.)
Watch on Platonic Apple TV+
New episodes of Platonic arrive each Wednesday on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.