Close Enough

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Sometimes there comes a show that speaks to your heart. In the case of Close Enough, it shouts at it.

Married couple Emily Ramirez and Joshua Singleton (an odd name for a married guy) are parents in their early 30’s, living in a duplex in LA. Emily is an assistant at a food company and an aspiring comedy- musician, while Josh works for a tech company and is an aspiring game developer.

The two together are young and adventurous and try their
best to go out with their flatmates (duplex-mates?) when they can,
but sadly they both suffer from a chronic condition known as
‘parenthood’. Their daughter, Candice, is definitely a product of
her parents. Capable, fun, silly, a little precocious while also
being kinda stupid.

They’re a great trio and it makes me happy to see more solid family units in our entertainment these days. I’ve previously ranted about how tedious I find it when dysfunctional relationships try to masquerade as comedy, but I won’t go into that now.

In the apartment next door are their good friends, divorced couple
Alex and Bridgette. Alex, her ex, is a Vikings-obsessed lecturer and Josh’s best friend from childhood. Bridgette, the youngest of the four, is a mid-20’s social media influencer who comes from a rich family and is Emily’s co-singer in their band. All in all, she’s basically Amy Wong from Futurama.

Between the five of them, their lives are zany, eclectic, and a certain level of whimsical that makes me wish real-life was a little more like the world they live in, even if that does include killer stripper clowns, nightclub youth cults, and rampaging vasectomy robots (that happens).

This one has been a long time coming. It was created by J.G Quintel (creative-director of The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack, and creator of The Regular Show) and originally announced in May 2017, shortly after The Regular Show concluded.

It was supposed to be released on TBS as part of a programming block but suffered major setbacks when Louis C.K.’s show The Cops was shut down after he admitted to various sexual misconduct accusations and the whole block was cancelled. It was a whole thing and none of it pleasant. But after three years and various reshufflings, Close Enough was finally, to my surprise and delight, released on Netflix.

The show is a lot more surreal than I expected, though not too much so to be offsetting (it’s no Space Odyssey) and provides us with the level of whimsy and randomness that we’ve come to love from shows like Adventure Time, The Regular Show, and Rick & Morty (just to name a few).

Indeed, it has multiple similarities with those shows, including their animation styles, though this isn’t much of a surprise given many of them share a production company (Cartoon Network). Plus the creators of those shows, and others like Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall, studied together at CalArts.

I loved this show. Maybe it’s because it’s not too long before I turn 30, or maybe it’s because the show reminds me of my years spent flatting in Auckland. Or maybe it’s just one of those shows that seems to do everything right. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s ridiculous, and takes you on a crazy ride that concludes satisfactorily and with zero consequences, which I think, in these insane times, is something we can all admit to wanting.

– Tim Baker



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