Divorce isn’t exactly a barrel of laughter, but Hulu’s is Fleischmann is in trouble He manages to find humor in the story of a broken New York family – and adds an intriguing mystery.
Thursday’s premiere introduces us to Toby Fleischmann (Jesse Eisenberg), a mild-mannered doctor recently separated from his workaholic wife and agent Rachel (Claire Danes). Toby is just starting to dip his toe into the world of dating apps and he’s amazed at all the single women who want to talk dirty to him. (He’s always been unlucky with the opposite sex.) We get flashbacks of Rachel complaining a lot and rushing off to work, and now she left her two kids on Toby’s lap one day earlier so she could escape to a yoga retreat. He calls her angrily, and they bicker back and forth, making it clear to her that she needs “my time”. And he said, “All of your time now is mine.”
Toby takes his two children—sullen Hannah and sweetheart Sully—to the 92nd Street Y, where one mother gives him a sympathetic welcome: “We’re your friends, too.” He remembers being stuck talking to the goofy husbands of Rachel’s mom’s friends, who look down on him for being “only” a doctor. He loves his job, but gets close to the interns one day, admitting that he is going through a divorce. An intern is happy to set him up on dating apps, and one weekend Toby logs on to find himself inundated with messages from passionate women who love that he’s a doctor. It has never been so popular! Toby specializes in healing the liver, which has the ability to heal itself…and feel like it’s regenerating as well.
He also runs into his old friends Seth (Adam Brody), a classy womanizer, and Libby (Lizzy Caplan), a cynical housewife who tells Toby a story. They lost contact over the years but reconnected when Toby arrived after the divorce. Seth encourages him to enjoy his newfound freedom: “The world is your oyster now. Lick it up.” He even invites Toby to a yoga class, where he whispers that it’s a great place to meet women. Seth also believes that “marriage is for suckers”, having seen so many unhappy married men afraid to go home to their wives. Seth also tends to choose younger women: “I think the younger ones hate us less.”
Toby leaves his kids with their nanny Mona (“You’re ruining everything,” Hannah gloats at him) so he can go on a spicy date with a girl named Tess with whom he’s been exchanging dirty letters. They drink and complain about their exes, but soon have brutal sex – and we see in the montage that Toby has been having a lot of brutal sex with a bevy of different women. He returns home fresh and drops Hannah off for a sleepover, where Rachel is going to pick her up, but when Toby tries to confirm with his ex-wife, he can’t get through to her. He sends her a barrage of angry letters, and she never shows up to pick up Hannah, forcing Toby to rush there instead. Rachel can be tough with him, but it’s not like she blows her kids away. Toby leaves her an angry voicemail, Hannah yells at him, and Tess shows up at his door in a trench coat and underpants, but runs off when his children answer the door. “where is my mom?” Hana continues to scream. Yeah, where’s Rachel?
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