On the Verge
Tediously bourgeois and unfathomably shallow, the first impressions of Julie Delpy’s Netflix series On The Verge are less than promising. The show, which was shot during the pandemic in LA, centres around a group of four affluent friends, each with their own successful careers and families. There’s the French chef with her own restaurant (Delpy), a wealthy heiress who has a fondness for recreational drugs (Elisabeth Shue), and a teacher struggling with loneliness and finances (Alexia Landeau). Lastly, Sarah Jones stars as Yasmin. She’s just turned 46 and is finding it difficult to find a new career while suffering from regular panic attacks and anxiety.
The series opens with a brief scene showing the ensemble cast participating in paintball match before the episode’s title Almost Two Months Earlier turns back the clock to preparations for Yasmin’s party. Something must happen to these friends within the next few weeks that gets them to swap fancy dinner parties for muddy fields and paint, and it’s this mystery that looks to be the glue holding the series together. However, in the opening episodes, this isn’t the case. The first and second episode (Viva Italia!) show no signs of a narrative through line whatsoever.
What viewers do get are sitcom-esque plotlines in a dramedy setting. The issue is that it’s incredibly difficult to become invested in this group of characters when their problems revolve around spilling expensive wine and pretending a fancy meal is French instead of Italian. Where the script does get things right is in the chemistry between the leads. The characters themselves may come across as irritating, but their friendship is nevertheless endearing.
By the end of the second episode, On The Verge doesn’t accomplish much in terms of its narrative or characters. With another ten episodes to go, there’s every possibility that Delpy has more creative tricks up her sleeve to get more substance out of the group, but sitting through however many more episodes of their tiresome shenanigans cannot be worth the payoff, should one come.
On the Verge is released on Netflix on 7th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for On the Verge here: