Review: Season Two of FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE Is Deeper And Funnier

FIRST IMPRESSION

Friends from College improves in its second season by increasing its depth and heart while elevating its humor to better take advantage of the cast.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Friends from College is a Netflix original series created by Francesca Delbanco and Nicholas Stoller. Season One debuted in 2017 to mixed reviews but had enough fans (including this critic) to warrant a renewal. Season Two picks up a year after the end of the first season, as Max (Fred Savage) is about to get married, bringing the fractured group of friends back together again.

The comedy in this season is much more likely to be well-received. Whereas the first season was based primarily in broad raunchy humor, this season is more focused on creating relatable humor out of awkward situations. As a result, audiences are even more likely to connect with the characters and their experiences. There are still a few episodes that are heavy in the broader style of humor, such as the inevitable bachelor party episode, but for the most part, the comedy is more elevated.

This season also felt much deeper than the last. The show used quite a few metaphors and symbols that helped create a more profound connection with the story. None of them were particularly mind-blowing, but they didn’t feel like an afterthought, either. One of the most thought-provoking moments in the season comes in the first episode when a character compares the main conflict of the story to being sprayed by a skunk. “The woman always gets the stink,” she explains.

friends from college party
Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/Netflix.

The most significant success of Friends from College is the chemistry between the actors. The relationship between the characters is extremely complex, and that is what makes the series interesting. Even though some characters, like Marianne, don’t have strong individual storylines, they are an integral part of the whole. It is the overall connection that really sells the story and the emotion therein.

Although the show features an ensemble cast, the main focus is on Ethan. The character is made to be much more likable and sympathetic this season. In the first season, he was the part of “us” that we all hated, but we know it is there. Some of that is still present, but he becomes a much more rounded character, with not just one, but many characteristics we can see in ourselves. Keegan-Michael Key is also far more subtle in this role than is usual for him, which is refreshing.

Lisa (Cobie Smulders) is perhaps the most complex character this season. Since Ethan is the de-facto protagonist, Lisa is, in turn, the de-facto antagonist. However, the show presents her in an ambiguous light, allowing the audience to make their own decisions regarding her. She has the most exciting storyline in the entire season and the one with the most twists. However, her new romantic interest, Charlie (Zack Robidas) is somewhat underdeveloped.

friends from college club
Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/Netflix.

The most welcome change in the series, though, is that Max (Fred Savage) is given a much larger role to play. He becomes more than just the humorous sidekick to Ethan, allowing Savage to flex not only his comedic muscles, but his dramatic muscles too. Max’s love interest, Felix (Billy Eichner), is also given more to do in this season. It is refreshing to see both actors playing roles outside of their normal range, and they have great chemistry together.

That being said, the character Nick (Nat Faxon) does have a very disappointing arc this season. In the first few episodes, it seems like he is going to legitimately grow into a fuller, more interesting character, but this arc isn’t fully explored, and his more annoying traits remains constant. This largely fails if only because Faxon is miscast. It is hard to believe he would be an eternal playboy because he so often plays the lovable goof.

Overall, Season Two of Friends From College takes the foundation laid by its predecessor and expands upon it with tons of heart and humor. Fans and new viewers alike will be enchanted by the story.

Season Two of Friends from College debuts on Netflix on January 11. (All eight episodes were reviewed.)

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Fight Before the Fight (Clip) | HBO

Real Sports goes behind the scenes for a rare look at how MMA fighters cut dangerous, life-threatening amounts of weight before a bout to gain a competitive advantage. #RealSports is all-new on Tuesday, September 22 at 10PM. #HBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Real Sports is television’s most-honored sports journalism program, and received last…

‘There’s Two Sides to Every Story’ Ep. 3 Official Clip | Love Fraud | SHOWTIME

We meet Lee, former girlfriend of Richard Scott Smith. Filmmakers sit down with Lee to discuss their close relationship. Watch the finale this Sunday at 9/8c on SHOWTIME. #SHODocs #LoveFraud Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: https://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: https://s.sho.com/33FGC1D Get more SHOWTIME: Follow: https://twitter.com/Showtime Like: https://www.facebook.com/showtime…

Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, + Sam Claflin Guess Victorian Slang | Enola Holmes | Netflix

Watch ENOLA HOLMES stars Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, and Sam Claflin take on their biggest mystery yet: Obscure Victorian slang. Enola Holmes follows Sherlock’s teen sister as she discovers her mother missing, and sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a…

Lovecraft Country: Season 1 Episode 7 Promo | HBO

On the next #LovecraftCountry. #HBO #JurneeSmollett #JonathanMajors Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Official Site of Lovecraft Country on HBO: https://itsh.bo/lovecraft-country-series Stream on HBO Max: http://itsh.bo/hbo-max Get More HBO Official Site: https://itsh.bo/dotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/hbo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hbo Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hbo Lovecraft Country: Season 1 Episode 7 Promo | HBO

‘Cartoons Eric & Don Jr. Invent a COVID-19 Vaccine’ Ep. 10 Clip | Our Cartoon President | Season 3

With coronavirus preventing the party of the century, Cartoons Don Jr. and Eric Trump try to synthesize their own vaccine by experimenting with bleach and other household poisons. Watch new episodes of Our Cartoon President on Sundays at 8:30/7:30c on SHOWTIME. #OurCartoonPresident Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: https://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ…

The New York Times Presents | Season 1 Ep. 4: Hurricane of Fire Preview | FX

Perhaps a fitting start to 2020, Australia rang in the New Year with much of the country engulfed in flames. A few people decided to confront the blaze. Watch them stand face to face with one of the most ferocious infernos in history. Subscribe now for more The New York Times Presents clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX The…

Star Trek Day 2020 | Enterprise Panel

Host Wil Wheaton (The Ready Room) takes a minute to speak with Star Trek: Enterprise cast members Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer), Linda Park (Hoshi Sato), John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox), Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed), Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather), and Connor Trinneer (Charles 'Trip' Tucker III). The group reveals insider tidbits from filming the series and delves…

AXIOS on HBO: Melinda Gates on U.S. Leadership & COVID-19 Crisis (Clip) | HBO

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses leadership as the major determining factor in the impact of COVID-19 in the United States. #HBO #AxiosOnHBO #MelindaGates Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Known for delivering news, coverage, and insight with a distinctive brand of smart brevity, Axios on HBO helps viewers better…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here