The newest addition to Netflix’s Originals roster Friend’s From College is a cynical take on what happens when you look back at the “best four years of your life.”
The series follows six former Harvard classmates who have circumstantially regrouped in New York City 20 years after they graduated. Like every college friend group, there’s inter-hook up, jealousy, rivalries, and other tensions that haven’t seemed to have faded 20 years later. They are able to essentially realize that their college days are over, and they must fully embrace the responsibilities of their adulthood. It’s coming of age if that “age” was 40. But it isn’t cheesy, and if it ever is, it’s done intentionally so.
The series itself seems very self-aware of its stereotypical nature as a comedy about “friends,” even going as far as featuring some of the biggest names in the classic sitcom/comedy universe like Fred Savage (The Wonder Years), Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), and Billy Eichner (Parks and Recreation), using these seasoned performers to its advantage. One thing is for certain though, this show has one thing seriously going for it, and that’s its deep-rooted cynicism. Unlike many other shows of a similar thematic caliber that celebrate the plunders of a group of friends who just can’t help but mess up (but it’s all right in the end), this show detests them (but so subtly, you won’t always be able to see it). It seems Friends From College is actually an in-depth commentary on the toxicity of TV sitcom friendships, or even immaturely handled friendships overall, and that’s why we love it. Who doesn’t love a good “f*** you” to modern social conventions? Friends From College said “f*** you” to Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and other sitcoms of the like.
Friends From College is, for the first time in a long time, a genuine depiction of a group of friends who actually don’t have their sh** together and maybe shouldn’t be friends anymore. Almost every college student should be able to relate their own current relationships and friends to the characters of this series, and that can be good or bad. But in truth as college students, this series is the most relatable comedy we can’t yet relate to. It’s entirely satisfying to see that the tropes we identify in our social circles today were still as prevalent 20 years ago, withstanding the test of time. That being said, we know life isn’t perfect and things don’t always work out in the end. and Friends From College doesn’t miss a beat when emphasizing that point. People our age seem to be sinking into the quicksand of their friendships, not realizing how harmful they truly can be. This show tells us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of our lives. It’s okay to embrace the college bubble, but there is a whole world out there that needs to be lived, and we can live it if we are mentally stuck in college for the rest of our lives. No one on the show said it better than Billy Eichner as Felix, my favorite cynicist (I may have made that word up), who said to the friend group “you guys are stuck in some 20-year time warp, it’s f****ing pathetic.” And it is.