It is hard to imagine Will Arnett playing any other character than the imbecile. He did it so well as Gob Bluth in Arrested Development, and he has since built an entire career on that character archetype. He once said the reason he got into comedy in the first place, was because his attempts at dramatic acting were met with laughter anyway, so why not go with it. But a decade after Arrested Development got cancelled, it was high time for Arnett to jump back into the dramatic deep end, and he has done just that with Netflix’s new dramedy Flaked.

The first act of Flaked comes off like a watered down version of Californication. Arnett plays a recovering alcoholic, living a romanticized deadbeat lifestyle in Venice Beach. He is an easy going ladies’ man, and everyone’s best friend. He has a smooth line for every situation. But the show is much more than it appears on the surface. There is a deeper, darker side to both Arnett’s character, and the seemingly directionless storylines that are first introduced. You need to let this show grow on you, as it might not catch you right from the get go.

Whatever reservations you will most likely have seeing Arnett play a (semi) serious character, you won’t have the same issues with the supporting cast. All of them absolutely nail their parts. David Sullivan plays the role of Arnett’s bumbling best friend, Ruth Kearney plays his main love interest, Robert Wisdom is cast as the wise friend (maybe there is something to this changing your last name business, after all), and veteran actress Heather Graham brings some gravitas to the show in her role as Arnett’s ex-wife. As for Arnett himself, after the initial shock of seeing him deliver sincere lines that are actually meant to be taken sincerely, he does eventually win you over, and makes it easy to buy into, and even sympathize with his character.

Flaked is best categorized as a slow burner, with each passing episode adding new layers to the previously surface level only interactions. You can’t fully appreciate the nuance of the show until all of the cards have been laid out on the table. It isn’t perfect, and it might take some time to get used to Arnett in this new type of role, but the payoff is worth it in the end. I’ll give Flaked 4 out of 5 stars, and definitely recommend that you give it a shot, if you haven’t already.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

5 thoughts on “Will Arnett, Netflix’s Flaked Review

  1. Hey, Michael:

    I was the boom operator on Flaked and wanted to let you know I thought you did a great job you summing up the show. Will is one of my favorite people on the planet and an absolute pleasure to work with (I also boomed Arrested), so it pains me to read that many folks aren’t that wild about his latest effort.

    I’m working on a feature away from home so I still haven’t watched anything other that the premiere episode of Flaked, but I really hope Netflix orders more episodes because I know Will really put his heart into this project.

    Best,

    ~Tom Caton

    1. Hi Tom,

      Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the review. And I really did love Flaked. Just watched it all the way through a second time this weekend! Thanks for the work you put in for the show, and for Arrested Development (an all time favorite).

      It is also nice to hear that Will is truly a good guy. The negative reviews are unfortunate, but it seems like it has become one of those shows that is “safe” to dislike, if you know what I mean. I for one am really hoping for a season 2 as there is definitely an audience for this show!

      Good luck on your next project!

      -Michael Halpern

  2. It’s probably the show that has gotten under my skin the most this season, and probably of many years. It just has that little something many other acclaimed shows don’t have. I agree, you just can’t review Flaked if you haven’t seen the whole season. The last episode is one of those finales that change your complete overview of a show. I have seen shows or read books that I haven’t enjoyed until that last bit when everything evolves and you can appreciate the journey.

    I’m gonna be utterly depressed if this gem doesn’t get a second season.

    1. Very true about a great ending completely changing the way you look at an entire show/book. It can be very rewarding after sticking with something even when you are unsure of what the pay off will be at the end.

      And I heard it will get picked up for a second season (6 episodes).

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