You know what’s still low-key enough not to be a thing? Being obsessed with Keegan-Michael Key. Of course you love Key and Peele, and Jordan Peele is doing his own world-domination thing—but Key has this other thing. He’s trying to be liked, and not always good at it being liked. That in itself is very endearing. Plus I’m a big Cobie Smulders fan because she never flinched during each and every “Robin is Canadian” joke on HIMYM. So I assumed I would love their new Netflix series Friends From College.
I love the opening scene. I would watch a 90-minute feature of these two in New York traffic. And you guys – can we just admit that either Fred Savage is magnetic on television or we’ve been conditioned to think so because of Wonder Years nostalgia for a time none of us lived through? Because every time he came onscreen I wanted to cheer…
But I didn’t LOVE this trailer as much as I wanted to. I wanted to be texting everyone I know, interrupting their workdays to tell them how it was ‘just like us!’ I wanted to feel like I was just as cool as these people who went to ‘college outside Boston’. (If you don’t know, this is code for Harvard. If you do know, because you went there—do people ever just go ahead and say, “Yep! The big H…”? Is it always cloaked in secrecy?)
But I wound up feeling uncomfortably like they were kind of dorky. Like the lack of self-awareness about a 10-year affair—you can have it, but it seems like you’d have worked out some better trailer-worthy quips about it after that long—or the fact that friends you’re supposed to have become adults with make you feel like anything other than yourself … I don’t know. I think I felt less than I wanted to.
Still, I had a strange ‘college’ experience and didn’t realize until years later. I was talking with a friend who was finding it hard to make friends in her new city after grad school… and I realized some of us didn’t do that. That is, I went to school in the biggest city in Canada, and then you stay to work because… you do. Or if you go to New York or L.A., there’s enough of ‘us’ diaspora’ed there that it feels like, if not ‘home’, at least somewhere you’re kiiiind of known. If I had moved to Kansas or Winnipeg after graduation, maybe I would look back at my college friends as the weird and unfinished part of what made me who I am…
But I can’t shake the feeling that KMK and Cobie and Kate McKinnon (!!!) are so impossibly cool that I can’t imagine them having real problems, or it feels like they’re going back to their 22-year-old selves to manufacture some?
Am I off-base? Is this going to pick up where St. Elmo’s Fire left off, theme song and billowing curtains and all? I’m prepared to love it – I just don’t know yet whether I do.