When Netflix first announced that they were reuniting Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz with one of its stars Will Arnett for an upcoming comedy, we were pretty excited. Yes, Arrested Development may have fallen flat on its face somewhat in season four, but there's no denying it was downright hilarious in its heyday, and Arnett? Well we'll always have a soft spot for the man that brought the world Gob Bluth.
Arnett not only stars in Flaked but he created it alongside Mark Chappell (Hurwitz serves as an executive producer) while his co-star is Irish actress Ruth Kearney. So yeah, interest was high in this one, and with just eight half-hour episodes it doesn't take long to get through. Is it a good show though?
Well look, it's alright.
Arnett takes the lead as Chip a self appointed "guru" of Venice in Los Angeles, who we learn in the first episode is a recovering alcoholic following a car accident ten years ago where he killed a man. His best friend is the reliable Dennis (David Sullivan), who finds himself falling for the charms of waitress London, although unfortunately so does Chip. Don't be fooled though, the storyline progresses far from the average love triangle tale as the complexities of the characters and their backgrounds emerge over the series, with more twists and turns than a M. Night Shyamalan flick.
Central to it all is Chip, the most full of sh*t person you could ever meet with virtually every second sentence out of his mouth a platitude or cliched life lesson of some kind. As the series goes on however, the bullsh*t is stripped back bit by bit - a depth Arnett plays out fairly well given that more often than not he's only had to extend his acting chops to the most one dimensional of characters.
Chip's problem is that he is more concerned with being perceived as the perfect do-gooder, spiritual type than actually being that person. He's a decent enough guy to feel guilty and apologise when he messes people around, but rarely does much to make it up to them, and it becomes clearer throughout just how selfish he can really be.
The whole way through, we're not sure if we're even supposed to like Chip, but then isn't that the structure of so many comedies these day? A lead that you're not quite sure you'd even want to be friends with? Whether you like him or not though, you can't help rooting for Chip, willing him and London (Kearney) to get together and for that crumbling furniture store of his to remain open.
Kearney, by the way, is stunning throughout and maybe it's our national bias but she delivers far and above the best performance of the show, and we would really have been very much okay with her character developing a little more than her interactions with Chip... it does at times, but not enough.
The show itself is not overly-concerned with being funny either. Labelled as a comedy, it certainly won't have you in stitches. Far from it, the humour is as dry as it comes and while sometimes this lands perfectly in the script, other times, it just doesn't deliver.
A huge positive with the show however is how its filmed - with some fantastic shots of Venice and its many diverse characters. While the music is as important as any of the performances, with EL VY closing out the first episode, and the likes of Local Natives, Grandaddy, Warpaint and Wilco featuring throughout. Basically the whole soundtrack is an indie music fan's dream playlist, so if that's not your cup of tea, you may have to move on.
Overall, Flaked isn't going to be winning any awards any time soon, and it's not going down altogether too well with many critics. However, there's definitely potential there for a great second season, and in the meantime, if you have a hangover day on the way or just want to binge watch something that won't take up that many brain cells of an evening, Flaked will come in handy.