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TV TATTLE

Peacock's Wolf Like Me feels like a romcom movie that struggles to pad itself out as a TV series

  • "Wolf Like Me runs for six episodes, about 25 minutes each, and it’s one of those series that feels like a flabby feature, stretched out to satisfy an episode quota more than the pieces inside," says Nick Allen of the Peacock comedy created by Abe Forsythe and starring Isla Fisher and Josh Gad. "It’s about Gary and Mary, and it also gives time to Emma, recognizing her own private darkness about her mental state and grieving her mother. But as powerful as (Ariel) Donoghue’s performance is with the material, and how this arc offers representation to kids who struggle with loss, it doesn’t add much to the overall story. lthough the execution of the story fails them, at least Wolf Like Me has the chemistry between Fisher and Gad. They both give some soulfulness to the darkness of their characters, and while they aren’t as funny as the story may want them to be, they have lively banter, especially when their characters baring their feelings about love lost in the past. It comes back to the baggage, and taking it or leaving it. Wolf Like Me is a story in which you recognize what it’s going for, but you don’t feel it. It has a true bleeding heart, gushier than a lot of other rom-coms, but it could use a lot more bite."

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    • Wolf Like Me is a disappointment considering its great premise and cast: "Despite the obvious skill set of writer-director Abe Forsythe and the strong and nuanced work from the likable and talented duo of (Isla) Fisher and (Josh) Gad, and despite that intriguing premise that comes across as half rom-com, half something entirely different, Wolf Like Me doesn’t have enough dramatic bite to justify six episodes," says Richard Roeper. "It repeats certain themes to the point of near irritation and is better at the setup and the tease than the payoff. There’s much to recommend in this series and some viewers might be hooked by the haunting themes and the black comedy, but ultimately there’s just not enough meat on the bone."
    • In the end, Wolf Like Me's genre mashup works: "Long stretches of Peacock’s Wolf Like Me are basically a two-hander with characters played by Isla Fisher and Josh Gad tentatively embarking on a new romance while discussing the challenges of finding love in your 40s, opening yourself up and exposing your baggage, your damage, to another person," says Daniel Fienberg. "They’re long conversations on park benches or across dinner tables, framed by writer-director Abe Forsythe to accentuate the gulf between his heroes, the space that they and he are struggling to fill. You might be perplexed to know that Wolf Like Me is a show about the strained relationships and the healing properties of love and openness — more like Scenes From a Marriage or State of the Union than the genre-defying, supernatural-adjacent series Peacock wants people to think it is. That’s the challenge of both writing about and watching Wolf Like Me; there’s the story Forsythe wants to tell and then there’s the subtext he’s using to lure people in. It’s a show of broad metaphors, perhaps one or two too many, that don’t always feel fully realized in the moment, but come together with pleasantly amusing potency after six episodes."
    • The chemistry between Isla Fisher and Josh Gad is the best thing about Wolf Like Me: "What works even better is the chemistry between the two leads: Gad and Fisher are entirely convincing as broken people, willing to look past even the largest of red flags to carve out a little happiness together," says Leila Latif. "Their portrayal of trauma feels lived-in and weary, the spark between them feeling authentically rare and thrilling to them both. Just as sweet is the bond Mary forms with Emma, which proves a lovely testimony of the potential of an adult providing a safe space for a child who feels misunderstood by their parents and teachers. Where the show falters is in taking advantage of the nature of its format. The story doesn’t fit cleanly into half-hour chunks, and Forsythe doesn’t neatly wrap everything up with a bow in the finale so it feels more like a single story in arbitrary 30-minute slices rather than something naturally created for the medium of television, where utilizing an episodic structure can be an art form in itself."
    • Wolf Like Me is nonsensical and ridiculous, but it succeeds at illustrating the addictive, push-pull nature of toxic relationships: "It’s hard to tell what genre Wolf Like Me wants to be," says Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen. "Horror? Romcom? Drama? A mix of all three? Whatever it is, it falls flat." She adds: "This schlocky six-part series is choppy and confused, unsure of its purpose. Mary’s true identity is flagged in the title of the show, which has all the subtlety of a Twilight film – except that Twilight could be considered 'so bad it’s good,' and this is really just the former."

    TOPICS: Wolf Like Me, Peacock, Abe Forsythe, Isla Fisher, Josh Gad




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