If anything about the past few years have taught humanity and civilization anything, aside from the drastic, it is that content is king of the domain and we will take in any way shape or form we can. There is such an abundance of content out there, that enjoying content is almost on a different level in comparison to just consuming content. With platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime releasing entire seasons of shows in one day, versus the traditional method of syndication and weekly viewing, audiences are gravitating more and more to just watch as much as possible. Now that is not to say that the latest thing that airs weekly isn’t as good as the show that drops everything at once, but if the show chooses to go the traditional way, then it has to at least keep audiences engaged and intrigued on a weekly basis to get them to tune in the next week, versus waiting for it to finish or just forgetting about it all together.
Unfortunately though, Hulu’s new show, Fleishman is in Trouble is very much that – in trouble. It is eight episodes, three of which feel like wanting a second season worried about not getting renewed and cramming it into the first season while also not being all that particularly interesting? There’s a vague overarching mystery of intrigue that takes on the show, but otherwise the subplot of coping with said mystery and the concept of divorce, especially when kids are involved, is more of a focal point and with it being almost lacking that sitcom vibe and being a downright drama about divorce, its been done multiple times lately in film and television and arguably done better.
The show itself focuses on the relationship between Toby and Rachel Fleishman played respectfully by Jesse Eisenberg and Claire Danes, who have been married for almost fifteen years and upon realizing things just aren’t working anymore decide to get divorced. The show is narrated by Toby’s former friend, whom he reconnects with, Libby played by Lizzy Caplan who also appears in the show and helps Toby with his new found predicament. While Toby and Rachel are trying to figure out what to do with custody and all those other fun tidbits of divorce, Rachel goes missing and the mystery of where she is and what happened to her starts to unfold. All while this is happening their kids are trapped in the middle of this absolute mess.
Fleishman is in Trouble is a strange look at two people who are incredibly self absorbed and disconnected from one another, and their children, as they finally decide to call it quits and file for divorce. The show doesn’t really do anything interesting with its concept, and certainly feels like a mini-series more than a fully fleshed out episodic television show and something that could be binged in a weekend versus watched over the course of several weeks. Each episode doesn’t leave much to be desired, as the characters are so unlikable and rather uninspired that finding out what happened to Rachel, or how Toby is going to survive being alone isn’t really of vast interest.
Even when it comes to casing, Jesse Eisenberg, Claire Danes, and Lizzy Caplan certainly should have been enough to captivate audiences, whether it be watching the series on a weekly basis or watching it all at once. However, yet again, their performances are underwhelming. It wants to say something, but it gets muddled in its own chaos, it tries to evoke strong emotions and garner a reaction from its audience and then drops its story. There is a lot to be said, but none of it is interesting or captivating. To top it all off, to drag an additional near three hours after what feels like a perfect finale (and in sorts is a finale) is almost adding insult to injury at this point. Fleishman is in Trouble, could’ve been the next Marriage Story or Scenes of a Marriage, but instead holds all of its punches back, never captivates its audience, and wastes its cast beyond repair.