Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard’s Forever, coming to Amazon’s Prime Video on September 14th, is a fascinating breakdown of a person’s life and expectations. Can happiness wither over the years and lead to a sense of settling? Do we owe ourselves to the bonds we make, if a new happiness is found later on in life? This writing team, with strong performances from Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, headlines a show emphasizing the need for individuality in a world that prioritizes pairing.
Forever owes a lot to the monotony of repeated habits. We do our thing, day in and day out, and over time, this habit becomes almost unbearable, the same thing year after year dragging life down. In marriage, as Forever teaches us, this can lead to the investment of new things. Its characters are looking to spice up their lives, and it is done with such care and attention to the characters and their personalities that it became entwined into whom they are as people.
The show went places I was not at all expecting, growing profound and philosophical in its approach to marriage and life and what’s expected of you. It poses some big questions, and answers some of them. In some cases the show offers a perspective to its questions but expects you to have your own answer. This gives the show wonderful meaning of not telling, but showing, and it caught me off guard in some cases with the way it approached the thinking of accepted ideals.
It does all this, thankfully, without losing sight of its humor and deeply relatable characters. Rudolph as June is a flawed, bored person who wants to shake up the rut in her life and in her marriage in any way she can. Rudolph’s fun and exuberant performance in this show balances out with some of the heavier and affecting moments, working together to give a performance well worth her qualities. Armisen’s Oscar is the straight man, to a degree, one whose boring and passive nature leads to great comedic beats. Armisen plays flat-toned characters to perfection, and in Oscar, he finds one with a tight but heartfelt performance. Together they build a team vibe, where there are differences, of course, but one where conversations of what would be better at a certain instance leads to a great back and forth so real and so relatable it’s endearing. A couple of other characters—played by Catherine Keener, Noah Robbins, and Kym Whitley—round out the cast and provide some of the funnier moments as they bounce off the two leads. Robbins, in particular, has some of the show’s best lines, and his reactions to things are wonderful.
Forever can be hard to review, to keep its allure intact while also explaining its appeal. It’s unique, smart, affecting, and honest, something in which if you invest the time, you will find something meaningful. Co-creators Yang and Hubbard have made a season of television about what forever means in its various forms, and what a relationship means in the grander context of the word. With Rudolph and Armisen as your gateway into such a piece, it becomes something worthwhile and exciting. I didn’t know what to expect, going in with an open mind, and came out incredibly pleased with the show. Stick with it, and Forever will be rewarding.
Forever will be available on September 14th on Amazon’s Prime Video.