TV Review: “Flaked”—Tired

Written by Michelle Young March 15, 2016


As much as I love TV, I do acknowledge that it does have some pretty big issues. One of which is television’s absurd adherence to the idea that what was good in the past will be good forever. “Flaked”, a new Netflix original series, is a perfect example of this problematic devotion to sameness, as the show gives us another tired, insincere rendition of “its so hard to be privileged”.

“Flaked” follows the day-to-day life of Chip (Will Arnett), a middle-age, stool maker trying to piece his life back together in Venice Beach, CA. Chip is admired throughout his community as a kind of moral leader, dealing out life advice and support to Venice’s many struggling residents in AA. There’s a twist though: Chip isn’t as honourable and selfless as everyone believes him to be.

“If I know you, you were helping you.”

It was really tough for me to find any part of “Flaked” that I actually enjoyed. The show completely overshot whatever tone it was going for, ending up more on the side of dull and pointless than chill and reserved. The opening episode was just Chip cycling from one set piece to another and occasionally interacting with characters or looking introspective and sad. The subsequent episodes go in a little deeper, but not in any way that is innovative or meaningful.


Everything about “Flaked” just feels overdone. The show’s attempt at dramedy falls completely on its face, with a mixture of unfunny, poorly thought out, dated jokes and uninspired dramatic themes. The show eventually takes some questionable turns towards the end that I found did more harm than good to the already weak story-line. “Flaked” also suffers from a dreadful lack of self-awareness, constantly mocking the “hipster, millennial” type, while at the same time featuring long shots of Chip riding his fixed gear bicycle at night to whiny indie guitar ballads.

“You’ve got a serious platitude problem.”

The completely played-out idea of straight, white, middle-aged, male ennui is the lamest crutch “Flaked” leans on. Chip’s inner turmoil is so inauthentic it’s maddening. The suggestion that we should root for a man-child, frustrated by the idea that people can’t look past his lack of responsibility, kindness, or genuine concern for others to see that he really is “a nice guy”, because he feels bad about it sometimes, is almost offensive to me. The show takes on a #NotAllMen kind of quality that leaves a particularly sour taste in my mouth. This problem is only worsened by the fact that the two main female characters, London (Ruth Kearney) and Kara (Lina Esco), are simply poorly developed objects of male fascination and validation, solely defined by their relationships to Chip and his “adorkable” (and I don’t used this term in a good way) best friend Dennis (David Sullivan).


Everything about “Flaked” frustrated me to no end. I constantly found myself cringing at such forced adoration for Chip that I had to take a break, because my eyes hurt too much from rolling them. This show represents the “worst case scenario” of Netflix original content: the poorly paced, overly serious, pretentious vanity project that is about as fresh as a sweaty gym sock.

My Rating: 4.5/10


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