Drugs fuel a poignant 'divorce party' on Platonic [Apple TV+ recap] | Cult of Mac

Drugs fuel a poignant ‘divorce party’ on Platonic [Apple TV+ recap]


Seth Rogen and Tre Hale in ★★★★☆
What can go wrong when strippers and cocaine are involved?
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewApple TV+ comedy Platonic takes a look at the lighter side of divorce this week. The show, about two best friends who are suddenly back in each other’s lives after a prolonged absence, finds Sylvia deciding to throw Charlie a divorce party to get his mind off how well his ex is doing.

In the poignant episode, entitled “Divorce Party,” some drugs and changes of plan send Sylvia into a tailspin that makes her realize she isn’t where she wants to be anymore.

Platonic recap: ‘Divorce Party’

Season 1, episode 4: Will (played by Seth Rogen) is on a date for the first time after his divorce. He’s with a woman named Peyton (Emily Kimball) who’s at least 10 years his junior, and things get weird real quick. His date neglected to mention her roommate (Sarah Yarkin), for instance, or that her “room” is just a piece of the living room cordoned off with a thin curtain.

When the roommate starts playing Succession so loud they can hear it, it ruins the mood and Will leaves. So much for that. He’s trying to get back out there, because his ex-wife Audrey (Alisha Wainwright) is already dating a Norwegian guy, Skaagn (Aramis Merlin). In fact, they’re moving in together, and Will feels like he’s missing out.

Meanwhile, Sylvia (Rose Byrne) and Katie (Carla Gallo) are at mutual friend Christine’s (Krishna Smitha) support group function after her divorce. Sylvia makes the mistake of telling Katie what she plans to say beforehand, and Katie steals it when it’s her turn to speak to make Christine feel better. Then Sylvia must ad lib, and she accidentally makes divorce sound like the worst thing in the world.

What’s up with Sylvia? (Asking for a friend.)

Sylvia’s husband, Charlie (Luke Macfarlane), is being talked to by his co-worker Stewart (Guy Branum) about Sylvia’s performance at the partner’s retreat. Sylvia got drunk and chastised Charlie’s boss (Michael Kostroff), first because he mistook Sylvia for a waitress and then because he couldn’t remember her name. She ate his speech before he had a chance to deliver it, so he had to improvise and embarrassed the hell out of himself. Stewart recognizes that Sylvia was acting out because she feels at a crossroads.

Sylvia’s feeling left out of her own life. Her old law school friend, Vanessa (Janet Varney), also made partner at Charlie’s firm. Now she wants to do something of equal importance. Stewart gives Charlie the card of a lawyer he knows who might want to take Sylvia on. Of course, the minute she has the card in front of her, she panics and can’t call him. So she decides to call Will to distract herself.

As they talk, Will kvetches about Audrey moving in with Skaagn, and Sylvia decides that what Will needs is a distraction. That’s why she decides to throw him the divorce party. She invites Will’s brewing company colleagues, Omar (Vinny Thomas), Andy (Tre Hale) and Reggie (Andrew Lopez). Reggie (who’s also Audrey’s stepbrother) invites a bunch of other people.

Cocaine and strippers: Great combo!

Charlie is suspicious of this — and of all the time Will and Sylvia are spending together. So is Andy, who still thinks Sylvia’s reappearance in Will’s life right as he got divorced is a little fishy. Andy decides to test Sylvia by suggesting they do cocaine and go to a strip club.

Sylvia tries to sneak out, and Will tries to talk to her into it. A bunch of guys at a strip club is pathetic. If a girl is there, it’s “fun and ironic.” She tries to explain that her life isn’t what it used to be. She’s not really the cocaine-and-strip-club type anymore. However, he persuades her to be for the night.

Naturally, when Sylvia finds out the cocaine is laced with ketamine, she has a panic attack and asks to go to the hospital. But she calms down soon enough. Too calm. She makes a spectacle of herself in front of a mom whose kids go to school with her kids, and then she nearly passes out at a liquor store.

Will takes her to his place to let her sleep it off. She wakes up feeling embarrassed. And then she compounds it when, as an act of proving herself, she calls Will and Stewart’s lawyer friend … at 2 in the morning. Now she’s really embarrassed. When she gets home at 4 a.m., Charlie doesn’t say anything — but he’s not happy.

Platonic and the future of aging romcoms

Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen in "Platonic," now streaming on Apple TV+.
Sylvia (played by Rose Byrne, left) and Will (Seth Rogen) share something special in Platonic.
Photo: Apple TV+

Byrne, Rogen and Platonic director Nicholas Stoller didn’t have much of a conceit on their hands with this show. The idea that two people becoming friends again is fertile enough ground for a 10-episode season of TV (to say nothing of future seasons should it get renewed) is the kind of gamble Rogen’s been taking for a long time.

To his credit, it has absolutely paid off. Knocked Up, Long Shot, Neighbors, Superbad … none of these are movies dreamt up with the care associated with personal projects, and yet Rogen has made them all feel personal through his own investment and his rewiring of the romantic comedy to fit a more contemporary sensibility.

Rogen has not lost sight of his own image in these works, and Platonic dealing earnestly with his aging is touching (in theory, at least — it’s only episode four) because he’s got to deal with the fallout from the lives his characters have been living.

Sylvia falling victim to bad drugs and disappointing her husband to try and stay “cool” in the eyes of a friend … Will trying to date younger women and realizing how out of his element he is … these are relatable in macro even if the micro details might not fully register with everyone.

It remains to be seen how this all pans out, but Platonic is paying for itself with every new crossroad at which the two leads find themselves.


Watch Platonic on Apple TV+

New episodes of Platonic arrive Wednesdays on Apple TV+.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+

Get it on Apple TV

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.


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