Rob Lowe and son John Owen Lowe in Netflix comedy – The Hollywood Reporter

If you’re like me, a big fan of ABC’s workplace satire Ted is betterIt may be a little surprising at first that Netflix Unstable comes from the same creator — Victor Fresco, this time credited with co-stars Rob Lowe and John Owen Lowe.

Where Better than Ted’s Veridian Dynamics stands as a model of corporate greed, Unstable’s Dragon is actively doing good for humanity while making a lot of money. The founder and CEO of the biotech company, whose random but impressive name is Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe), is not a greedy stuffed animal but a genius businessman. charismatic, who really lives up to the kind of hype once enjoyed by the likes of Elon Musk and Elizabeth Holmes. If Ted is better feels predestined in its skepticism towards business, Unstable’Our bright prospects can’t help but feel a little out of touch with the current disillusionment with Big Tech and billionaires.


Key point

Not very profound, but very, very funny.

Broadcast date: Thursday, March 30 (Netflix)
Cast: Rob LoweJohn Owen LoweSian Clifford Aaron BranchEmma FerreiraRachel Marsh
Creator: Actor: Victor FrescoJohn Owen LoweRob Lowe

undo however, share with Better Than Ted its only compelling quality — namely, it’s very, very funny, thanks to its brilliant combination of edgy writing, lovable eccentric characters, and snappy humorous timing. It may not drain deep enough to draw blood or tears. But that didn’t seem to matter when it was capable of delivering jokes so effectively that, more than once, I had to pause the show so I could stop laughing before I could continue.

It’s not that you’re necessarily getting its tone from the nasty generic title, which could also be begging viewers to mix it up with Amazon’s very different title. undo. Or from its premise, this sounds more suitable for a TV series like that of Apple TV+ shrink. Unstable came to see Ellis two months after the death of his wife of 30 years, when he was still too grieving to be the person his loyal CFO Anna (vermin’s Sian Clifford) aptly describes it as “unpredictable” and what the show’s serif font logo more bluntly labels as unstable.

In practical terms, this means he’s basically stopped working in favor of more eccentric activities, such as sunbathing naked in his office, watching the moon overtime as part of his work. of the landscape design team and anything else unable to speak out to make his board-authorized psychiatrist seem to disappear without a trace. (The aforementioned miniature is played by Fred Armisen, to give you an idea of ​​how odd this spin-off is going to be.) Concerns that Ellis’ strange behavior could jeopardize his role in the show. company, and thus the company itself, Anna enlists the help of his only child – Jackson (John Owen Lowe, the real-life son of Rob Lowe), a 28-year-old man with a career in the arts. New York’s few flute musicians were a direct rebuke to his father’s overwhelming influence.

Like a sad portrait, Unstable is half-hearted. Although the recent loss of the Dragon serves the purpose of the narrative to give Ellis a reason to act even more erratically than usual, and for the father and son to redefine their loving relationship, so far are still far apart from them, but the series is too popular to send Ellis’ whirlpool into a vortex. any real gravity – and too unconcerned with Jackson’s feelings for his mother to really explore them, aside from a subplot of Ellis’ concern that Jackson wasn’t mourning properly. It focuses more on the burgeoning dynamic between the two men, but here, the series also plays things that are too lighthearted to have any lasting emotional impact. (Nevertheless, lovers of Nepo baby discourse can expect to compare the relationship between the Dragons to the relationship between the Lowes, I guess.)

However, it’s hard to remember that Unstable lack of emotional depth in refusing to take itself too seriously as one of its chief pleasures. At a time when TV is inundated with shows that straddle the line between dark comedy and heart-pounding drama (sometimes to great effect), it’s always fun to watch a show that doesn’t have a grudge about it. It’s honestly a pleasant lighthearted comedy, down to a 20-minute episode run time. Especially when the show’s sense of humor is so well defined from the start. Where some comedies take a season or more to set a tone or make it stand out, Unstable going well towards the end of the first episode and only getting more accurate over the course of the next seven seasons.

The key to its appeal is its willingness to not only be playful, but to seek out unexpected locations for even more silliness. Unstable it is never possible for a character to simply walk into a room where two other characters are talking when that character could use that moment as an excuse for a bizarre joke involving the cloak. picture is not perfect. Hobby love doesn’t just happen at drinking bars; they happen to be at drinking bars with a “bee gang” of insect-obsessed weirdos. Malcolm (Aaron Branch), a picky project manager, doesn’t stop at comparing Anna’s scheming mind to Aladdin’s Jafar – Their exchange leads to the realization that there is a guy at the office named Jeff R. who looks and acts like Aladdin’Jafar.

Such details make Unstable far beyond Lowe’s conventional chipper performance (think Parks and Recreation’s Chris Traeger with Dean’s unshakable self-esteem from Grinding machine, and you’ve got the gist). Clifford is a particularly striking person, her British pragmatism countering the bohemian frenzy around her. But this is one of those rare actors where everyone seems to have chemistry and an interesting life history together, whether it’s the unshakable loyalty between the science freaks Luna. and Ruby (Emma Ferreira), or the unexplored friendship between Malcolm, Ellis’ number one fan, and Jackson, Ellis’ number one critic.

By the time everyone got together in episode five for a fake surprise birthday party, that crunchy energy had turned into something akin to sweetness. “Wait a minute, are we friends?” Ellis asked Anna as they watched their young staffers clumsily but happily dance to 90s dance music. Big emotional statements aren’t really the show’s style, and Unstable accentuate the moment with a humorous recap of their mistakes together and a quick touch of the glass. But it’s those warm touches that make this series such a fun place to hang out, have a good laugh, and forget about trying too hard to make sense of it all.

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