A largely ‘director’ (‘The Chair’), Netflix comedy revolves around the generation gap in the university ecosystem. No longer between teachers and students, but between old and new guards, ready to tread on what is shaping up a public relations storm where there is no good prognosis.
And in the middle is Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh), newly appointed head of the English Department at Pembroke University. On the one hand, the dean (David Morse) insists that one of the three oldest members of the faculty should be “thinking” about retiring, who is also the one with the fewest students and the most opposed to new teaching methods.
On the other hand, an unfavorable attitude causes the entire campus to turn against Bill Dobson (Jay Duplass), a brilliant but disastrous professor who maintains a good friendship with Kim. Finally, the Director will see how difficult it is to award the promising Professor of Honor to Yaz McKay (Nana Mensah).
An ambitious comedy in its theme
Amanda Peet co-created and co-wrote Annie Julia Wyma in this incredible comedy that throughout its six episodes shows that you can play multiple sticks and not look like Frankenstein’s monster. The script is built around Kim and it creates a sort of three in one (office comedy, family and, to a lesser extent, romance) that works pretty well.
It’s true that the balance between these aspects can be a bit precarious at times, it seems that there are two series in one … and in one of them, Sandra Oh is not the protagonist of her own family plot, but rather Jay Duplass who she knows very well her place in the series. In this sense, the ‘Director’ doesn’t miss north and, despite the fact that it’s in this subplot that he has more of a presence, there’s no room for confusion about who the protagonist is.
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There’s also no ambiguity, so to speak, in what’s going on. What causes student anger is the attitude that is taken out of context and at first it seems all a satire of the culture of cancellation. However, the script is more dedicated to exploring, managing to delve (albeit slightly and with grace) into the factors that led to these protests.
The same can be said of portraits at the Pembroke monastery. Anyone who has ever walked into a classroom will find “that” teacher at Pembroke. But far from the cartoon, for example, the typical dinosaur that hasn’t updated the agenda since it was removed, the script is more concerned with its development.
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Comedy sour and wise
If we stick to the number of topics Peet and Wyman want to tackle, this series is a bit of a flop when it comes to landing it all. While they are all quite relevant and comedic, they are often left to hover in the form of two or three lines of dialogue. It’s a little annoying because we know that screenwriters can do it better.
However, there are six episodes. And that’s the worst that can be said for an excellent, sour comedy that manages to be thoughtful enough when it comes to introducing us to the University’s complex ecosystem.