This is a show about relationships in every sense of the word, though as its name may imply, the focus here is one of those casual, one-off encounters that many people are engaged with in this day and age. This idea is explored with a very simple premise; a woman, in the wake of her divorce, moves herself and her daughter to her brother’s home.
The three main characters all have their quirks and inner demons they’re trying to fight. Valerie, the mother, is fresh out of a divorce and trying to get back into the dating scene and get some action. Alex, her brother, has a self-made fortune thanks to his dating site, but personally struggles to find a meaningful relationship, instead taking part in a series of one-night stands. Finally, we have Laura, the teen daughter, who deals with being a teenager in an age of social media panics and sexting, as well as an initial crush on her teacher.
This is the kind of show that’s better to binge-watch than watch in weekly instalments. The short format and solid performances hook you in straight away. Later, the characters are developed further and become more nuanced, leaving you more engrossed and intrigued by what’s in store. When you hear about their childhoods and learn how damaged they all are, it explains much about their present behaviour.
For example, Alex initially comes off as a bit of a tool who sleeps around with multiple women. However, as he matures and tries to get into a long-term relationship of his own, his scenes end up becoming the most compelling material of the show. There’s an interesting role reversal between him and his sister; at the start, Val seems like the responsible one and Alex the selfish narcissist, but he starts to understand and even anticipate the consequences of his actions, while she goes and has sex with her brother’s girlfriend.
As far as young teenage characters go, Laura is a refreshing change of pace from the norm. She’s fairly comfortable in who she is and not ashamed of what she wants in a relationship. Her relationship with her mother is open and frequently poignant. The two of them are more like friends who discuss the intimate details of their lives rather than a distant mother and daughter. Interestingly, things between them become a little shaky when Val tries to be a more responsible mother at times.
The three characters form an odd, dysfunctional family unit, whose level of appropriateness is called on several times. They’re able to vaguely function as human beings when they work together but on a codependent, self-destructive level that makes the possibility of broadening their circle beyond the three of them almost impossible. While none of them are perfect and perform not-so-great acts, the show is able to make you empathize with the main characters even as it refuses to forgive them for their worst. The acting goes a long way in making you understand the characters. Val seems the sanest of the bunch but her actions are the most destructive. Through her expressions and scenes you can see how and why she chooses to go down the wrong path.
In the middle of all the character drama, some interesting ideas are tossed around and considered. If the internet has made it easier to find the right people for our personal or social needs, then why do we still form bonds with people who disappoint us? Why do we adhere to the same social structures for so long when there are other options we could try? It’s when the show starts to tap into these questions and issues that it becomes more special and intriguing. Some relationships hold themselves together out of inertia, but as the show might suggest, some run more deeply than we can understand.
Even though the show may be touted as a comedy, it’s more half-hour drama than funny, though its sharp observations and moments more than make up for it. It has a very indie feel with strong performances and writing throughout. If you’re up for a fun, introspective look on relationships and one-offs, this is a show to watch.