Web Series Review: ‘Adoptable’ Season 1
Speaking with his team of amateur documentary filmmakers, a middle-aged tv actor describes with increasing resentment his childhood (yet lingering) delusional fantasy that Love Boat actor Bernie Kopell is secretly his birth father. A darkly comedic exploration of identity and belonging, Adoptable is written and created by Scott Lowell (Queer as Folk), who also stars as the self-obsessed and neurotic Scott Fishman.
I appreciated how this web series blends reality and fiction through a striking and thought-provoking lens, as Scott commissions an increasingly incompetent documentary team to record his efforts to discover his birth family. Further mirroring a distorted version of reality, Scott works in a gay-for-pay role – ‘the first gay cop on tv’ – on the ludicrously and offensively stereotype-ridden cop drama, Cops and Bottoms. His co-lead playing the straight (in all meanings of the term) cop is Noah Wyle (ER & Falling Skies), who plays an exaggerated version of himself as a charismatic yet misogynistic womanizer. I have been following the current debates surrounding the frequency of straight actors playing LGBTQ characters (think Darren Criss in The Assassination of Gianni Versace or Cate Blanchett in Carol). So I found this a fascinatingly bleak depiction of that trend, painting both the production teams and actors as ignorant and self-interested.
Scott’s longtime on-and-off-again girlfriend Lisa (Emily Swallow from The Mandalorian and Supernatural) is also putting pressure on Scott to finally ‘put a ring on it.’ At the same time, their couple’s therapist attempts to woo Lisa through his obsequious refusal to see her as anything other than the innocent party during joint-therapy sessions. Lisa and the therapist simultaneously encourage and condemn Scott’s obsession with his birth parents and his increasing frustration with his elderly technology-inept caseworker. Scott and Lisa’s relationship particularly reminded me of the rocky relationships depicted in dark British comedies, such as Peep Show.
Ending on a cliffhanger, Adoptable leaves audiences curious about the future of Scott’s quest for his birth parents. By the end of the series, I had grown strangely attached to these deeply unpleasant characters, wishing for at least one more episode and looking forward to the yet to be announced the release of season 2. Fans of Veep and Documentary Now will enjoy the bitter dark humor of this mockumentary, which consists of 6 approximately 15 minute long episodes, easily digestible in a couple of sittings.
To watch season 1, visit https://www.starbabynetwork.com/channel/adoptable/ and follow @starbabynetwork for more information and updates!