Fleishman Is In Trouble caught me off guard. Ever look for something to binge-watch but bail out because you just lost interest? FX’s Fleishman Is In Trouble is streaming both on Hulu and Disney+ was something I was not planning to watch but I got addicted. My most significant deterrent was Jesse Eisenberg. There is something about Jesse Eisenberg that just gets under my skin. I think I lost him with his acting in the movie Vivarium. He is still annoying as hell in Fleishman Is In Trouble. The well-rounded cast with both Claire Danes and Lizzy Caplan redeems the 8-episode TV drama. As in any divorce, everybody picks sides. We are given Jesse’s character version of the divorce but by the end, it unravels in a different direction.
You have to commit from the beginning to the end, things are not what they appear to be when people divorce. Without committing to having spoilers, I was happy with the ending. There is hope, even if it is slight at times. We have to build on those small moments and push forward. The actors did a brilliant job in this series, even Jesse Eisenberg. I am still on the fence about him.
The series is based on Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s début novel, Fleishman Is in Trouble. After seeing the TV drama, I have to pick up the book and compare it to the show.
Fleishman Is in Trouble deals with the themes of gender roles, marriage and divorce, online dating, midlife crises, and class anxiety. The novel mocks the affluent Manhattan professional class and its pretensions while embracing their anxieties, especially those relating to marriage and gender. An underlying theme of the book is the relegation of women to the background in a male-centric society. At one point in the book, the narrator says that “the only way to get someone to listen to a woman is to tell her story through a man”, which is what the book in itself does. The novel also deals with the nature of marriage and relationships, in particular the strain that arises in marriages in which the wife is the primary breadwinner. It has been seen as a larger commentary on marriage in modern America and the way in which it appears to strip people of their identities and force them into routines. Brodesser-Akner also parodies the app-based dating culture, from grammatically poor sexts to the names of dating apps (such as Hr, Choose, Forage and Reach). In particular, the novel focuses on the generation that got married before the advent of dating apps and who, upon divorcing, had to adjust to new dating practices.