A pair of Chicagoans play married in the webseries Young Couple | Bleader

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A pair of Chicagoans play married in the webseries Young Couple

Posted By on 05.21.14 at 02:30 PM

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Nic (Brianna Baker) and Chris (Brandon Ogborn) are the titular young couple..
  • youngcoupleseries.com
  • Nic (Brianna Baker) and Chris (Brandon Ogborn) are the titular young couple.
The fledgling webseries Young Couple succeeds because of the chemistry between its stars, Chicago improv vets Brandon Ogborn and Brianna Baker. Ogborn and Baker previously collaborated on TomKat Project, a theatrical riff on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s marital bliss—or whatever the hell it was/wasn’t—which Ogborn wrote and in which Baker played a dozen characters. In Young Couple, though, they shuck voyeuristic absurdity for intimate sincerity and play a young Chicago husband and wife. The marriage is the second for both characters, and they’re trying to understand the scope and limits of their relationship.

Filmed in black and white, the series' 13 short episodes (they vary in length) center on the couple's witty investigation of the subtleties of the day to day, both within their marriage and in the orbiting relationships of others. In "Baby's Day Out," Nic (Baker) and Chris (Ogborn) pay a visit to their friends to examine their newborn, and the scene splits into two: the mother (Jo Scott) in the kitchen chatting with Nic and the father (Tim Stoltenberg) in the baby's room entertaining Chris, who can't help but kid about the new parents' onslaught of baby photos on the Internet. "Do you see what you look like online to everybody else?" Chris asks. Two very different conversations ensue between the pairs about the realities of parenthood—creating tensions that culminate in the season's finale.

Young Couple's triangle of conflict is completed by its third main character, Nic's ex-husband, Mike (played by Mike Malarkey, who also directs the show). Mike and Nic are trying to get their college band back together, and Mike's presence mostly results in Chris wavering between irritation and tolerance. One of my favorite details of the series is how much it acknowledges the influence of technology on the communication (or lack thereof) in a relationship. A lot of what Chris doesn't say to Nic is shown in text messages that he writes but never sends.

At its core, though—and even through some pretty heavy scenes—Young Couple remains an endearing, smart local comedy, one that hums best when improv old hats Ogborn and Baker are playing off of one another. The series' shortest (and all-around funniest) episode, "Fingerbangin'," consists of a three-minute conversation between Nic and Chris about the location of a woman's G-spot and all that goes into hitting it. The comedy is half physical; Chris uses his fist to represent his wife's anatomy (“OK, this is you. Clit, labia . . . ”). As the scene gains steam, it becomes apparent that the playful back-and-forth isn't as much about the bedroom as it is about the fun the two are able to have as a couple that's perfectly in step—at least until the banter comes to a screeching halt with a swift kick to the balls.

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