3 out of 5
Created by: Dan Perlman, Kevin Iso
covers season 1
Non-comedy comedies – Better Things; High Maintenance – have been making the rounds for a few years now, but have generally played to a certain age range and demographic. And while I’m sure my take on that is limited by my own age range and demographic, Flatbush Misdemeanors’ application of that style upon paycheck-to-paycheck Brooklynites comes across as incredibly fresh, and an even more “real” take on the reality that’s bound to the genre, infused by a young adult POV that’s generally lacking in the same. What’s especially impressive about the show is how in-the-trenches it remains, while also allowing room for leads Dan and Kevin (Dan Perlman, Kevin Iso) to evolve; it’s not reliant on season-long ideas or big swings, instead working with the bits and pieces that accumulate in our day-to-day to make for a sense of progression. The duo’s lifelong friendship feels quite lived in, as does the show’s version of Brooklyn, though we’re still mindful of erring toward comedy: Dan’s plaintive approach to teaching at a high school has him defusing a bomb threat by, essentially, talking the threatening student to sleep; Kevin’s half-assed hustle between his job and trying to sell his art and making nice with the local gangster has him trying to sell paintings out of the back of a friend chicken joint; and the two will slide in to casual bickerings as with any long-term relationship, eventually falling back to a default ‘whatever’ shoulder shrug. The family, friends, girlfriends, and others that surround Dan and Kevin flesh things out, and add to the show’s ability at portraying that crushing size of the big, bad world, and then how that’s tempered by the small world of daily decisions that surrounds us. The way the general attitude floats between everything-is-ending one moment, and then nothing-matters the next is where we see a divide with some of the other similarly-toned series: it’s a very youthful, modern take that allows for the show to come across as incredibly true to life, if tilted towards laughs. Overall, this is also what prevents Flatbush Misdemeanors from ever exceeding its base level of humor or impact – sort of meta-tied to the state of its characters – but by the same token, it’s such a relatable, easy watch that it’s the kind of show that can easily be consumed in long stretches.