Everyone Is Doing Great, created and written by One Tree Hill co-stars Stephen Colletti and James Lafferty, had a bit of a winding history. The first two episodes were shown as a short on the TV festival circuit in 2018, then the rest of the episodes were produced via crowdfunding; Hulu bought the U.S. distribution rights to the show in December. It’s a bit of a true-to-life story about how two actors, who became famous on a young-skewing series, have problems adulting. Read on for more.
Opening Shot: A phone rings loudly. We see pictures of kids and of a man and his buddies. A man in bed looks at his phone and puts it down.
Jeremy hasn’t even tried to get work since the show ended, and it’s affected his marriage to his wife Andrea (Alexandra Park). Her acting career has taken off with a successful cop series, and she’s not only working her butt off but making all of the money now, whereas Jeremy sits around the house getting high most of the time. He can’t even get it up for morning sex with Andrea. It’s gotten so bad that Jeremy gets excited over a hot stranger that slid into his Instagram DMs, tempted to respond to her request to go out. Seth encourages Jeremy to go out for a part in the series he’s auditioning for but Jeremy doesn’t want to go, for many reasons.
When Seth goes for the audition, he’s surprised when the director asks him to simulate a sex scene, using a pillow as the substitute for the other person. Despite the humiliating request, he complies, and still doesn’t get the part, as his agent says they want to go “ethnic.” Right before he gets the news, he runs into a fan of Eternal, and he’s embarrassed to tell her that he’s “working on working.” Right after, he runs into his ex Isabella (Cariba Heine), hanging out with a new guy.
That night, Seth drowns his sorrows in booze and blow at Jeremy’s apartment. Jeremy invites the Instagram hottie, who brings a friend. While the single Seth hooks up with the friend, Jeremy comes oh so close to cheating on Andrea with the Instagram hottie, but he stops himself, making things extraordinarily awkward. The next morning, Seth gets an awkward departure to go with his hangover — the woman doesn’t date actors — but Jeremy gets something even worse… divorce papers.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? This show feels a bit like You’re The Worst, only not as caustic or funny.
Our Take: We wish we had any good things to say about the pilot episode, since Colletti and Lafferty pretty much produced this show about as independently as any TV series, even in the streaming era, could be. The idea that these two actors, who are still active, created a series for themselves on the idea of fleeting fame, typecasting, and being a Hollywood has-been at 30 seemed to be an interesting concept. But the execution is lacking, making the two main characters into jerks that we have no desire to navigate their world.
There is a little more sympathy for Seth than Jeremy, mainly because he’s actually out trying to work, and he had to “fuck a pillow” while being videoed during an audition (apparently a true story). The pair already set up Jeremy as hopeless, too busy being depressed and stoned to pay any attention to his marriage. But up until the two of them gather at Seth’s apartment to commiserate after Seth’s failed audition, there was little in the way of funny happening.
When they get together, though, they become unsympathetic assholes. Who is going to relate to these two guys, who obviously have money from their days on the vampire show, whining about their once-successful careers while snorting coke and facilitating random sex with two fans? Who is the audience supposed to relate to here?
Shows about actors are tough to get a larger audience to buy into to begin with, because it’s just hard for non-actors to care about the inside-baseball tribulations of the working actor. But then you layer in two guys who are upset over their success, squandering whatever relationships they had, then there’s nothing there for the viewer to care about. Perhaps later in the series, as the friends find themselves, things will get better. But the first episode was such a complete turn-off that we’re not interested in taking this journey with them.
Sex and Skin: Seth’s sex with the pillow during the audition, as well as Jeremy trying to get it up and failing with Andrea.
Parting Shot: After getting served, Jeremy walks in and tells Seth, “She’s divorcing me,” then he throws up.
Sleeper Star: Alexandra Park, Lafferty’s real-life fiancée, plays the strongest character in the show. Andrea dumps Jeremy for many good reasons, and it looks like she’s not going to come back after some empty promises on his part.
Most Pilot-y Line: During Seth’s audition, the director and casting director talk about where to get lunch while Seth figures out how to approach the pillow for his simulated sex. We get it: Auditions are brutal. We think we got that from the simple fact that Seth is asked to fuck a pillow.
Our Call: SKIP IT. Everyone Is Doing Great is a navel-gazing portrait of two guys who have refused to grow up on top of not embracing the roles that made them successful. We’re not sure who in the current financial, health and political environment are going to find any entertainment with these two sad sack characters.
Joel Keller () writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
Watch Everyone Is Doing Great On Hulu