Misery loves company, and there’s no better way for women to commiserate together than gossip about the losers they’ve dated. “Shitty Boyfriends,” an original web series from executive producers Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”) and Dan Bucatinsky (“Scandal”), proves yet again how fictional the perfect guys in rom-coms are. Released on Refinery29, an online news and fashion outlet, the comedic show strikes a chord when you’re feeling particularly screwed over by men, but 'Boyfriends’ won’t hold your attention for long in comparison to other more compelling content online.
Amanda (Melissa Hunter, “Adult Wednesday”) is an up-and-coming cartoon artist on the hunt for The One. In each seven-minute episode installment, Amanda finds herself involved with yet another deadbeat. While her exaggerated dating faux pas are comical, the stilted acting draws a noticeable divide between the show and reality. Desperately trying to abandon her single status, Amanda looks for love in the most obscure prospects that inevitably fulfill the show’s title. From one episode to another, Amanda leaves her romances without any distinct lessons learned (unless the moral is to immediately ditch the guy who gifts her a sample size Bath & Body Works spray for Valentine’s Day). Unfortunately, “Shitty Boyfriends” focuses more on ridiculing men than it does developing the heroine's character as a strong, independent woman.
The series features Sandra Oh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), who slips naturally into the role of the remorseless boss with a killer fashion sense. Though Oh only appears in three of the five released episodes, her striking presence leaves the audience begging for more screentime. It seems there is more curiosity surrounding her love life than Amanda’s.
The show fully elucidates the ludicrous archetypes of men in the 21st century, portrayed through the terrible men Amanda dates. The self-proclaimed happy vegan turns “free-gan” as he starts rummaging through garbage bins for food, and the guy who says they should get married after the first date is, not surprisingly, crazy. But, though the tortured film enthusiast who enjoys watching “Schindler’s List” to wind down warrants a chuckle, “Shitty Boyfriends” is just not memorable. With entertainment powerhouses like Kudrow and Bucatinsky as producers, the show carries a burden of expectation for side-splitting comical punches left and right, instead of awkward cringe-worthy scenarios.
Refinery29’s content focuses on fashion and lifestyle, and the series is another outlet to showcase quirky style through the costumes. Sporting loud prints and colors, the characters’ wardrobe tells a story of its own. In this respect, “Shitty Boyfriends” naturally fits into the site. But ultimately, it’s clear that the web series is not destined to become the Internet’s next hit-sensation. The episodes may temporarily cheer you up after a lousy date, but they won’t be enough to keep you from drowning your sorrows in ice cream.