Not gonna lie: Netflix is kind of dead in my household. We’ve got half a season of the crown left that we haven’t watched because apparently, in the nineties, the entire royal family really sucks – but other than that, there is nothing on there I even kind of want to see. So I’ve been seeing other streaming services on the side. At least they still try to be interesting, man.
And interesting is definitely a word I’d use to describe Fleishman is in trouble on Disney+. Not exactly good, but interesting. In this adaptation of the book with the same name, Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg), a New York doctor, wakes up to find his kids in their beds. The only problem: he’s freshly divorced, his wife wasn’t supposed to bring them until tomorrow, and now she’s not answering the phone. What enfolds is a story about a lot of things: Divorce, sex in your fourties, mental health, success… The story never finds its focus with one thing, it’s not even focused on one character, Fleishman is the title of the show but the corny voice over belongs to his best friend, who inexplicably carries a) the one thing tying this story together and b) the entire fucking final episode. It’s honestly kind of a mess.
But as far as slices of life (which is what messy shows always end up saying they are) go, Toby’s is quite interesting, and I think he is an interesting male lead in a world filled with uninteresting ones. He’s a successful doctor, but his more successful wife (Claire fucking Danes who does a better ugly cry than in Homeland!) vastly overshadows him. He loves his children and cut back on his job to be with them. He cries a lot. And he loses in life because of all of this.
It’s weird to find this refreshing, because characters like this shouldn’t be as rare as they are, but hey, that’s the way it is. I hope a lot of people watch Toby Fleishman cry on the hospital toilet as he loses his patient to Morbus Wilson and are inspired by him constantly losing in life, not because he’s kind of a neurotic asshole, but because he’s a very emotional human being. I know I am.