July 29, 2022, marks the arrival of Netflix’s new romantic comedy series Uncoupled, which stars Neil Patrick Harris as a Manhattanite named Michael who has his life upended when his husband of 17 years ups and leaves him. Navigating the New York dating scene in his 40s, Michael tries to reinvent himself and find happiness while grieving the loss of his one true love.
Uncoupled joins a highly entertaining crop of comedic TV shows that explore the lasting ramifications of marriage, divorce, middle-age dating, second chances, same-sex relations, and the overall uncertainty of facing major life changes after years of comfortable routine.
Will & Grace (1998-2020)
Stream On Hulu
Celebrated for helping to improve the public perception of the LGBTQ+ community in the late 1990s, it’s hard not to think of Will & Grace when watching Uncoupled. The show follows Will (Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, and his roommate Grace (Debra Messing), a heterosexual interior designer, as they navigate the highs and lows of work, dating, potential marriage, and much more as they become best friends.
A landmark sitcom that prompted then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to state that “the show probably did more to educate the American public” on LGBTQ+ awareness “than almost anyone has ever done so far” (per The Washington Post), the profound importance of Will & Grace deserves to stand beside Uncoupled, especially since the last three seasons really explore the dynamics of aging and dating later in life.
Sex And The City (1998-2004)
Stream On HBO Max
In terms of dating in upscale Manhattan later in life, no show is better suited to watch with Uncoupled than the runaway hit HBO original series Sex and the City, which is also a highly-ranked series produced by Darren Star. Fans can expect the same lighthearted tone that they fell in love with on SATC, which follows a quartet of ultra-confident and glamorous New York singles looking for love in all the wrong places.
Spawning a pair of feature films and a TV spinoff, the popular half-hour sitcom won multiple Primetime Emmys for tapping into the zeitgeist of the late ’90s and early 2000s Manhattan. It also gave the memorable characters led by Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker’s defining role) tremendous freedom to explore their sexuality, adulthood, careerism, potential marriage and parenthood, and all of the things Michael (Harris) will have to deal with now that he is newly single.
And Just Like That… (2021-)
Stream On HBO Max
Once fans finish all 94 episodes of Sex and the City, it’s best to follow up with the recent spinoff And Just Like That…which continues the glamorous cosmopolitan exploits of Carrie (Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) as they keep up their high-maintenance lifestyle well into their 50s.
While not as beloved as the original, the show manages to offer salient insights into the modern dating scene at an advanced age while also representing LGBTQ characters with honor, respect, and dignity. Also created by Darren Star, the show features the same tone and temperament as Uncoupled.
Stream On HBO Max
Unless fans have gotten their fill of Sarah Jessica Parker by now, Divorce is the next best TV show to watch alongside Uncoupled. Created by Sharon Horgan, the show concerns Frances (Parker) and Robert (Thomas Haden Church), a married New York couple who experiences a protracted divorce process after the former begins an illicit affair.
With trenchant themes of infidelity, middle-age romance, the trappings of marriage, and what it means to find a second chance at love, Divorce toes the line between melancholic heartache and recognizable humor that Uncoupled fans are bound to cherish.
Grace & Frankie (2015-2022)
Stream On Netflix
One of the best Netflix original series, Grace & Frankie follows the same basic premise as Uncoupled. When longtime law partners Robert and Saul leave their wives to be together, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered existence and begin life anew.
Relaying the real-life friendship of Fonda and Tomlin that traces back to 9 to 5, Grace and Frankie become liberated, self-empowered females in their 70s and 80s who become role models by creating a sex toy for an older demographic. They use their experience to navigate new life as a single while never losing sight of how much they love each other like sisters.
Cougar Town (2009-2015)
Stream On Hulu
ABC’s enchanting sitcom Cougar Town follows Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox), a recently divorced woman in her 40s doing the best she can to find happiness in the next challenging phase of her life in sunny Florida. As Jules looks after her teenage son and deals with her ex-husband, she opens up candidly about the challenges of aging, dating younger men in modern times, marriage, divorce, parenthood, and more.
The title Cougar Town doubles for the school mascot (Cougar) of the Gulfhaven high school that Jules’ son attends as well as Jules becoming a “Cougar” for dating younger men, deliberately exploring how women of a certain age manage to keep the family unit together despite swirling domestic strife. As such, it’s another perfect companion piece with Uncoupled.
Men Of A Certain Age (2009-2011)
Stream On HBO Max
Winner of a 2010 Peabody Award, TNT’s severely underrated dramedy Men of a Certain Age is one of the most well-received TV shows about the ramifications of aging, marital divorce, finding romance after years out of the dating pool, dashed hopes, and dreams, and how friends can lean on each other to get through uncertain and unhappy times. The story follows three college buddies who try to figure out what’s wrong with their lot in life as they approach their 50s.
Whether it’s Joe (Ray Romano) dealing with marital separation and eventually divorce and how it impacts his two children or Terry’s (Scott Bakula) refusal to marry and insistence on dating much younger women, the show mines the same romantic and existential themes Michael from Uncoupled faces.
Happily Divorced (2011-2013)
Fran Drescher leaves her iconic role as The Nanny behind to give divorce after her husband of 18 years comes out as gay and decides to leave her for a better life. Such is the premise of TV Land’s Happily Divorced, which Drescher also co-created based on her real-life experience with her own husband Peter Marc Jacobson. As such, the honest dynamic between Fran and Peter (John Michael Higgins) on the show feels authentic as can be.
What really makes the sitcom premise so funny is how, due to the poor economy at the time of their divorce, Fran and Peter are forced to remain living together as Fran reenters the dating scene in her 50s. Another fascinating look at romantic second chances later in life, here’s hoping Michael from Uncoupled will eventually become Happily Divorced as well.
Mrs. Fletcher (2019)
Stream On HBO Max
The great Kathryn Hahn dazzles in the title role of Eve Fletcher, a recently divorced mother who undergoes a midlife crisis when her teenage son Brendan goes off to college. Determined to reinvent herself, change her old ways, and rekindle her sexual appetite, Eve makes major positive changes in her life that Michael from Uncoupled would be wise to follow.
A sharply-written coming-of-age tale about a woman in her mid-40s, the show brilliantly examines the parallel dating pitfalls Eve has while dating a younger man and Brendan’s romantic struggles in college, suggesting that age is indeed just a number.
Hot In Cleveland (2010-2015)
Stream On Paramount+
TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland is another acclaimed, award-winning sitcom about how a change of scenery can lead to a second lease on life for a trio of women in their 40s, one of which just got divorced while another has been divorced six times. All three women are powerful entertainment industry professionals grounded in Cleveland, Ohio when their plane to Paris goes on the fritz, where they are slowly delighted to learn the place is much more accommodating than the cutthroat, beauty-obsessed Hollywood.
As Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), Joy (Jane Leeves), and Victoria (Wendie Malick) adjust to their new midwestern environment, they experience newfound freedoms that lead to romantic bliss, grandparenthood, and the promise of a bright new chapter ahead regardless of their age, proving that second acts are indeed a blessing in disguise.
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