Spoiler free review of Weird City, Episode 1×01 which premieres Feb. 13th on YouTube Premium.
Weird City is a sci-fi comedy, but it doesn’t take long for the first episode to deliver endearing, emotional moments between it’s characters. This six episode anthology was co-created by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders (Key and Peele). It will air exclusively on YouTube Premium and features a crazy impressive cast.
Visually, the attention to detail in this show is stunning, but it’s the characters that shine. Stu (Dylan O’Brien) is a lonely guy living in a world that he never really seems to fit into. He was born “below the line” and makes the move to “above the line” because of his mother’s success.
You see, the city of Weird is divided into two halves – above the line and below the line. (Really, the city is divided by a literal line.) Those above the line are the “Haves” with very hipster drinks, digital pets, and an assigned mate. Below the line, the “Have Nots” live a more basic life with diner food, small modest houses, and dating.
As we see with Stu, love is hard to come by in this world if you weren’t born above the line. In this world, if you weren’t matched at birth, you have to date and dating sucks – no matter WHAT world you are living in. So, Stu turns to a service for help.
He is matched with Burt (Ed O’Neill). There is a big age difference and neither thought they were destined to be with a man – but things just click. In other shows this entire story would have been played for laughs, but Weird City doesn’t do that. They focus on the growing bond between these two men in this quirky world and it’s refreshing as hell.
Don’t get me wrong – I laughed often, but it was at the funny moments, not the circumstances. Stu and Burt’s relationship development was told with such thoughtful care that I actually got teary eyed at one point. The way these characters treat each other and the chemistry between O’Neill and O’Brien will have you clutching your heart for much of the episode.
One thing that also struck me about this episode was that it didn’t care about age. Not just in the relationship with Stu and Burt, but with Burt’s children. You’ll see this when Burt’s seemingly adult son has a rather heartfelt moment with Stu over a game of “safeball,” aka football. If you closed your eyes, you’d think it was a child of 6 or 7. This show seeks to force viewers to ignore stereotypes and focus solely on the plot, and it works!
Episode 1 is strong and surprisingly touching for something that could be a total slapstick situation if told elsewhere. With the direction and writing in this show, the story is more about the idea of love and it’s power to transcend all, rather than focusing on Stu and Burt’s unconventional pairing.
This episode also offers a glimpse at the “not so distant” future that actually feels within reach – which is creepier than the oddly flavored IPA’s. The fashion is strange, but not over the top, and while interesting to look at, none of the sci-fi elements seek to pull you from the main story.
In addition to the refreshing story-telling, the acting will hook you immediately. Ed O’Neill is incredibly sweet and heartfelt as Burt. And Dylan O’Brien proves that he is the real deal, yet again.
Weird City hones in on O’Brien’s quiet charm and soulful eyes that will refuse to let up until the final moments of the episode. But don’t worry Teen Wolf fans, you will also get to see his comedic side via a big yell, a bigger cry and Stu’s very interesting running style.
If episode one is any indication, Weird City is the perfect mix of comedy, heart, and subtle social commentary. And with the impressive cast of stars in this anthology, and the wonderful little love story in the premiere – you won’t want to miss an episode. #StuAndBurt4Eva
Weird City will debut exclusively on YouTube Premium on February 13, 2019.