Fleishman is in Trouble: Premiere is a sharply written, well acted, starting point

My first thought after watching the first two episodes of “Fleishman is in Trouble” is “Thank goodness we’ve got writers that haven’t completely forgotten how to be this clever”.

The cringe-worthy dramedy stars Jessie Eisenberg as Toby Fleishman, a middle aged doctor who’s marriage to his ultra elite, show business executive wife has just failed. He’s trying to juggle his career and fatherhood in his new solo role, while discovering the world of dating apps, which has allowed him to fool around with a bunch of fellow lost singles. During the premiere we watch him navigate these events as his ex, Rachel (Claire Danes), floats mysteriously close but still separated from the events taking place in the rest of her family’s life. Fleishman also reconnects with his former camp friends which includes Libby (played by Lizzy Caplan).

We’re forced to ask ourselves a couple of times here. Is it Toby that is metaphorically in trouble? Or is it Rachel, who might actually be in some kind of danger?

Normally, I don’t care for Eisenberg unless he’s fighting zombies or Superman, and while he doesn’t give us anything we haven’t already seen from him here, his character allows every other actor on the program to fly. Danes, is a force during her very limited appearance during the premiere as wife many people may dream of, but few may consider what its like to actually keep her happy. “Mean Girls” alum, Lizzy Caplan, always has a place on my TV and is terrific here. The entire cast is great, really.

Toby is a difficult one to like. While we may feel for his parent pains in one scene, he is a borderline sex addict in the next. We’re forced to wonder if he doesn’t have all of the bad events in his life actually coming to him. And I understand, she’s being given to us in small doses, but Danes takes over the entire show during what limited time she’s on screen. It won’t be long before we demand more of her. Just excellent stuff.

I’m going to fully recommend “Fleishman is in Trouble” and add it to my FTR rotation. I’m happy there is still some smart TV being brought to us as 2022 comes to a close.

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