The show, about two adult friends who try to reclaim their nonsexual friendship at the start of their middle age, finds them Charlie’s wife Sylvia all keeping secrets from each other — a sure sign that everything’s going according to plan, right?
Entitled “My Wife’s Boyfriend,” it’s a surprisingly effective episode, despite all the comic games that come out of left field.
Platonic recap: ‘My Wife’s Boyfriend’
Season 1, episode 5: Will (played by Seth Rogen) and his new girlfriend Peyton (Emily Kimball) are spending time together. They’re doing more of her version of fun things, including thrift-store shopping and long hikes into the Hollywood Hills.
To keep up with her, Will must listen to new music and become aware of new trends. So he asks Sylvia (Rose Byrne) to dye his hair bleach-blond after Peyton tells him she has a thing for Machine Gun Kelly. Charlie (Luke Macfarlane) comes home to see his wife giving her shirtless friend a makeover, and starts to let it be known that he’s feeling left out.
Later, Charlie tells his co-worker Stewart (Guy Branum) how jealous he is about the whole situation between his wife and Will. He’s driving himself crazy about it. Stewart tells him not to fixate, but Charlie can’t help himself — so he invites Will to a Dodgers game.
Will gets the text with the invite and brings it up to his friends and co-workers Omar (Vinny Thomas) and Andy (Tre Hale) at their brewery. Omar thinks Charlie wants to beat him up for spending too much time with his wife. Andy just thinks Charlie’s sussing out Will’s feelings because his wife is spending all of her free time with him.
When Charlie calls Sylvia about it, she tells him not to overthink it. Sylvia, also overthinking it, asks her friend Katie (Carla Gallo) about the whole thing. Katie lays it out for her this way: You love someone and they spend all their time having fun with someone else? How would you feel?
Take me out to the ballgame
The baseball game outing is a qualified success. Charlie and Will eventually calm down, start talking and hash out some of the weirdness between them. Agreeing that they’re having fun, Will takes Charlie and Stewart to his bar and gets them even drunker. Will makes Charlie feel better about his normalcy, and they start acting out together and get the whole bar (and latecomer Sylvia) in on it.
It’s a raucous evening and Charlie feels much better … that is, until at the last minute he mentions Peyton in front of Sylvia. Seems Will hadn’t mentioned his new girlfriend to Sylvia (even though he told everyone else). Then it comes out that Charlie’s colleagues all call Will his “wife’s boyfriend.” And finally, it comes out that Sylvia did Ketamine at Will’s divorce party.
Suddenly, no one’s having fun. Then Will slips on a glass and cuts a big hole in his wrist and starts bleeding everywhere. Charlie rushes into action and saves him while they wait for an ambulance.
Sylvia apologizes for keeping things from Charlie, and he apologizes because he doesn’t want to be the kind of person who feels like he’s raining on her parade. She used to be fun. Did he take that from her? No, she says. And to prove it, she accepts his invitation to bleach his hair like she did for Will.
Seth Rogen makes Platonic fun
I liked this episode of Platonic a good deal, sinking further and further into the neuroses that come with getting older and starting to suspect you may have made mistakes along the way.
From Will’s clinging to the youth of his girlfriend (while performatively disapproving of it in front of his friends, so as not to seem completely out of touch) to Charlie not unreasonably drilling Sylvia about why she’s so concerned that Will didn’t mention that much younger girlfriend — it all has the sting of truth about it. Even as detours like a Coyote Ugly tribute and a huge, bloody wound undermine the potential seriousness of what Platonic is trying to get at.
As in other Seth Rogen projects, the comedic hijinks don’t always directly relate to the overall point of the episode. But that’s fine, because Rogen and Co. sell them through conviction. (Or anyway, at their best that’s what happens — a noticeably checked-out Rogen couldn’t save something as blighted as The Night Before.)
Rogen is basically just being himself
Rogen is one of the few people it can be fun to watch just having a good time (usually the opposite is true in comedy) because his whole media output is a reflection of his personality. He didn’t get famous and then start being himself — he was always himself. So even the “secret skills” montage this week on Platonic, which I didn’t find as funny as I was meant to, served a purpose; to act as cover for when the real emotional work started a scene later.
Sylvia being jealous of Will’s girlfriend sight unseen, and Will trying to hide the fact that he’s dating from Sylvia, are both very reasonable details that everyone will have seen in some form or other in their lives. I like that the show keeps finding little needling details to highlight the strength of a premise that really shouldn’t have provided a season’s worth of conflict. It’s good stuff, and none of it feels labored.
Watch Platonic on Apple TV+
New episodes of Platonic arrive Wednesdays on Apple TV+.
Watch 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.