If you’ve ever wondered if there was a series you could watch to feel understood in your state of juxtaposition between millennial superficiality and human authenticity, I have a set of instructions for you: turn on your laptop or TV, log in to Netflix and hit “play” on “Easy.”
The eight-episode anthology series, directed and written by Joe Swanberg, follows various storylines dealing with the ups and downs of love, friendship and finding out what you really want out of life, all while managing to connect to a diverse audience.
The setting of the series is Chicago, one of the most diverse cities in the United States, a fact that is often overshadowed by its Midwest location and avid sports culture. The way Swanberg uses the different subcultures of the Windy City allows the series to reach a wide market while tastefully avoiding tokenism.
Yes, there is a same-sex, bi-racial couple highlighted in one episode and another with dialogue that is almost entirely in Spanish, but the character development and rawness of the plot completely engulf any judgment of the inclusionary framework.
“Easy” highlights the indulgence and intimacy shown at every level of a relationship, from the sloppy one-night stands to the cheeky early stages of dating to the carefully calculated moves of marriage.
There is something for everyone in all eight stories, whether it be recognition of yourself or a loved one in a character or just entertainment in the mere idea of lives played out in such unrefined ways.
The characters deal with trending phenomena like Tinder and selfies with both self-awareness and naiveté, highlighting society’s current state of being conscious and ignorant all at once.
There are certainly storylines that have more depth than others, but one important thread of commonality throughout “Easy” is the theme of sex and intimacy. But the series tackles this in a an authentic way.
There is something downright un-sexy about many of the scenes throughout the anthology, and some that may even make you cringe, as if you had interrupted a moment you didn’t belong to. But that is the beauty of it — this is how people really are.
We have insecurities and obsess over them. We tell people white lies about ourselves to be more attractive or relatable. We reminisce about our exes even as we embark on better, healthier relationships. And we all spend our time looking for something in someone else that will make us being here matter.
It’s not easy. It’s the opposite of easy, actually. It’s really freakin’ hard. But it’s what it’s all about. Love and loss and regret and acceptance. Life: not easy, but worth it.