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So a recent policy of mine has been not to review shows about wacky dudes living together in an apartment — aka “roommate comedies”. This is because I am convinced that roommate comedies are like stalkers — even the slightest bit of attention ends up encouraging them. A show about wacky dudes who DON’T have an apartment, though? That has potential.
The New York City-set Squatters follows the adventures of Hank (Brendan Bradley) and Alex (Erik Scott Smith), two roommates whose recent eviction has led to a bet that even the opening credits acknowledges as stupid: The pair bet on who can last the longest without a permanent address (leaving Manhattan, staying with friends or paying money for a place to stay are against the rules).
If you can accept the premise, Dailymotion’s second original series and its first comedy (following last December’s Compulsions) is relatively clever and definitely well-produced. While Bradley and Smith make for such an odd couple that at times I was hard-pressed to believe that they actually were able to function as roommates in their previous life, the two actors do have great chemistry. The rest of the cast is also solid, with one brief guest appearance in episode 2 by Sandeep Parikh teasing the possibility of future hilarity.
There’s a pretty big catch with Squatters, though. While there are a lot of bits which feel funny in concept, they don’t necessarily inspire laughs, and instead come off as forced. Most of these instances have to do with Hank’s wackier interludes, such as bonding with a recent convict at the local bar — when the character steps outside the range of believability, the organic comedy of the moment is lost.
However, the dialogue is solid, and in the three episodes provided for review, though, the narrative shows real signs of escalation — mostly due to the blossoming of love for both young men. Watching Hank and Alex attempt to balance romance and homelessness is just the dramatic push the show needs, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things evolve in the episodes to come this summer.
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