Flaked is a new comedic offering from Netflix and is penned by Will Arnett and Mark Chappell. Arnett stars as Chip, a local Venice, Ca businessman, alcoholic and AA mentor. The show is categorized as a comedy, but to be honest, the show is not that funny despite being oddly entertaining.
It is amusing and at times quirky. The tag of the series is that Arnett’s character, Chip, is a self help guru who needs help himself. In reality, the character is a furniture maker, or more accurately a stool maker, who shares a house and business premises with Dennis (David Sullivan).
The series is based around these two and the AA program. Although it seems to play lip service to the staying clean portion until later in the series. Flaked is eight episodes of quirkiness with interesting characters. Binging the show does not necessarily make the episodes any funnier but it is still hard to stop watching.
Set in Venice California, the characters are people trying to find their way whilst maintaining their sobriety. Although little time is spent in the meeting room. It is more about the two men, who may be in their early 40s, stumbling through. Chip is charismatic and a hit with the ladies while Dennis has to work for it.
The show has some impressive names on the cast list. Kirstie Alley plays Sullivan’s mother; that he has severe issues with (she slept with his classmates when he was in school). Heather Graham plays Chip’s soon to be ex wife. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays the uber rich wunderkind who tries to buy Chip’s friendship.
All the character are quirky, and to an extent, real. Although Irish actress Ruth Kearney, as London, has the strangest storyline of the characters on the show. Flaked feels almost like a topical series that may appeal more to fellow Californians.
Arnett plays a sort of early mid-life crisis sort whose life has been an uphill struggle for the last 10 years. His Chip is not perfect. As the “guru” at the local AA he mainly sponsors, or mentors, young women. He is also good at playing the philosopher.
Flaked may not be laugh out loud funny, but it does have its moments. Over eight episodes the characters and the show itself have an interesting arc. While the series is not full on comedy, it is low-key and has enough tension in places that it could be called a dramedy.
Overall, the series is a compelling watch and there are some genuinely touching moments. Kirstie Alley’s episode is actually almost “tissue box” worthy as one feel that lump rising in the throat.
In some ways Flaked feels like a sort of travelogue/touristy production. Making Venice look like a snapshot of Southern California that no longer exists but that one still wants to visit. Although the show does mention that the iconic surfer town had to be cleaned up. With almost all the main characters in AA it is pretty clear what needed to be removed from the area.
A comedy with a few twists and turns and a lot of excellent performances from the main regulars and star turnouts by the guests. Mints-Plasse plays to type but does it exceedingly well and Alley nails it. Kearney as the love interest is spot on and Lina Esco is convincing at Cara, a first year in the local AA and conquest for Chip.
Kudos to George Basil who plays with a wonderful sort of “Cheech and Chong” nuance the part of Cooler, the neighborhood stoner.
Flaked is a little bit odd, a little bit funny, and in some places a bit tragic. Streaming on Netflix at the moment, as an “Original” it is worth watching. Whether binging the entire season or doing it one at a time, the show is hard to turn off.