TV Show Reviews

How the Platonic Friendship in ‘Why Fleishman is in Trouble’ Makes it 2023’s Most Radical TV Show by Lisa

In‌ the popular TV series, Fleishman is in Trouble, the characters played ⁤by Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Eisenberg ⁤share ⁤a unique ⁢bond. They are seen together at parties during their college​ days and at ​a reunion two decades later. ⁣Their‍ interactions, filled ​with inside jokes and a comfortable intimacy, highlight their deep ⁤friendship. However, what stands out is the lack of romantic tension between them, a rarity in portrayals‌ of male-female ⁢friendships on screen.

Fleishman ⁤is in Trouble offers various discussion points, from the anxieties of the upper class to the‍ stigma⁣ surrounding ⁣postpartum depression. Yet, its depiction of ⁤platonic ‌friendships between ‍heterosexual men and women‌ is⁣ what makes⁤ it quietly revolutionary. Caplan’s character,⁤ Libby, and Eisenberg’s character, Toby, confide in each other about their midlife crises and find comfort in ‌their friendship without any romantic implications. Caplan, in ⁤a recent interview, ​mentioned that ⁣many of her closest friends are men, and there has never been ​any romantic involvement.

Despite the commonality of male-female friendships ⁣in real life, popular culture ⁣often views these relationships through a romantic lens. The classic film, When Harry Met Sally, is⁢ frequently cited as⁤ the​ ultimate exploration of whether men and women ‌can be just friends. However, the film primarily focuses on romance, using ‌the friendship between the titular characters as a‍ stepping stone to their eventual romantic relationship.

In other cultural representations, it​ seems that men and women ⁤can only be “just friends” if a romantic ‍or sexual interest has been explored and dismissed. For example, in the sitcom Seinfeld, Jerry and Elaine are ⁤ex-lovers, making their friendship more⁢ significant than Jerry’s relationships with his numerous girlfriends.⁤ Similarly, in the TV show Frasier, the characters ⁢Frasier and Roz are forced into a romantic situation after nine seasons of platonic friendship.

However, in reality, the ⁤possibility of romance ⁣or sexual tension between male and female friends is not as significant ​as it ⁢is often portrayed. According to a 2021 YouGov survey, 80%‌ of Britons ​agreed ​that heterosexual men and women can be friends. This view was shared by both ​genders across various age groups, from 16‍ to​ 60⁣ and above. This consensus is rarely achieved in polls on any topic, further emphasizing the normalcy of ​platonic friendships between⁢ men ​and women.

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