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‘Detroiters’ – A Feminist Comedy About The Friendship of Two Bumbling Ad Men

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Hollywood offers no shortage of stories about men in the business world and their personal and professional relationships. What makes Detroiters stand out from the crowd is the heart of this show: the hilarious and beautiful friendship of the two leads. Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson are real-life best friends who play best friends Sam and Tim on the show. The pair work together at a struggling, public-access channel caliber ad agency that specializes in commercials for local businesses. Detroiters is quirky, clever, and laugh-out-loud funny.

To add to their dynamic, Tim is married to Sam’s sister, Chrissy, and they all live next door to one another. This makes for some great visual comedic moments. The marriage is just one way that Detroiters seeks to complicate the relationship of Sam and Tim in all the right ways to undermine some of your expectations about men and masculinity in pop culture. There is a fantastic episode in which Sam is mistaken for a high-end prostitute while sitting alone at a bar. While gender-flopping well-tread storylines does not inherently make them anew, Detroiters expertly navigates sexism, men’s emotional experiences in the dating world, as well as feelings of professional insecurity.

One of my favorite moments of the show, highlights the unique heart of Sam and Tim’s relationship, as well as the heart of Detroiters as a whole. In an episode toward the end of the season, Sam, Tim, and Chrissy are walking into a formal celebration for Sam and Chrissy’s father. Tim, walking to the side of the siblings says, “You look beautiful tonight.” Chrissy asks which one of them he is talking to, and Tim responds, “My beautiful wife, of course!” But then as Chrissy smiles and walks off camera, Tim turns to Sam and adds, “Not my beautiful best friend!” Sam smiles with happiness and pride. It’s a wonderful moment played expertly for comedic and emotional effect. There is no irony in Sam and Tim’s relationship, no homophobic undertone that subverts their friendship, and no bullying or teasing. Their love for one another is what strengthens their other relationships and their business. It is also what hooked me on the show, and will keep me tuning in.

– Brett Goldberg

Detroiters airs on Comedy Central, and is available on-demand on various services. For further reading on Detroiters, including the show’s actual connections to the city of Detroit itself, read this post from the Detroit Free Press.

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