'State of the Union's Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd will make you take sides and cheer as their marital Brexit rages on
An estranged couple, a marriage counselor we never see, a bar and infidelity — Sundance TV's latest offering 'State of the Union' has a recipe that could have horribly backfired but the fact of the matter is, it has done the exact opposite. This 10 minutes each, 10-episode show is anything but drab and while it maintains its star factor — with performances from the likes of Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd, it still has a bit of indie flavor to it, making it such a delight. It is obviously an experimental project for two-time Oscar nominee author Nick Hornby, one that excels all expectations.
The series starts with Louise and Tom, Pike and O'Dowd's characters meeting at a bar, just before they head into their first marriage counseling session. The two are still very much married, but appear to have separated after Louise cuckolded him — something that Tom never fails to mention. Louise, however, thinks that it was Tom and his sexless ways that drove her to Matthew, the other man's bed. As the two bicker, nervous, confused and absolutely petrified of what happens behind the closed doors of therapy — one thing becomes increasingly clear — this one is going to be a long road to recovery.
Lucky for us, we're just watching them, which is quite fun, to be honest. You'll find yourself taking sides, cheering them on, wanting to give them a hug and at times, shaking them up when they're being airheads.
Every week, they meet at the exact same spot and do the same thing — talk about everything that they don't need to. These two appear as though they want to sail through their marital Brexit but at the same time find their way to stay in but are torn at both possibilities. It is perhaps the length of each episode that keeps things so crisp and interesting but then again Tom's thick Irish accent and Louise's classic Brit one also scores brownie points in the department.
'State of the Union' is a joy to watch, not just because of the spicy conversations but also because it is incredibly funny and real. Those two sitting at the bar could be anyone's life, honestly. The show has excelled at creating these complex characters whose layers shine through even though you don't see them anywhere else, with anyone else or even doing any other things. We don't even know their last names or where they work — they are just Tom and Louise, who are trying to work on their marriage.
But the beauty of the series doesn't end there. It is also how the show handles voyeurism.
It's nothing new but when was the last time you've felt like you're watching a character watch another character and felt a human connection to them all? Tom and Lou, every week, see a couple come out of the session just five minutes before them — and they spy on them as much as they can. One day, they're fighting and the woman is knocking the man out while another, they're making out in the parking lot. Our protagonists watch their relationship unfold without even noticing that we're watching them too.
A must watch if you love a story packed with great writing, performances, and unconventional humor along with some meta-meanings everywhere. This show might as well be a slam poetry session seriously. The premiere episode of 'State of the Union' airs at 10 pm EST on May 6.
Watch the trailer below: