Fleishman Is in Trouble
Promotional poster
GenreDrama
Created byTaffy Brodesser-Akner
Based onFleishman Is in Trouble
by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Written by
  • Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  • Mike Goldbach
Directed by
Starring
Narrated byLizzy Caplan
ComposerCaroline Shaw
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
  • Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  • Sarah Timberman
  • Carl Beverly
  • Susannah Grant
  • Valerie Faris
  • Jonathan Dayton
  • Robert Pulcini
  • Shari Springer Berman
ProducerAnne M. Uemura
Production locationNew York City
Cinematography
Editors
Running time43–67 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkFX on Hulu
ReleaseNovember 17 (2022-11-17) –
December 29, 2022 (2022-12-29)

Fleishman Is in Trouble is an American drama television miniseries created by Taffy Brodesser-Akner based on her 2019 novel of the same name.

The series premiered on FX on Hulu on November 17, 2022.

Premise

Toby Fleishman is a recently divorced hepatologist in his early forties using dating apps for the first time. As he begins to find romantic success he never achieved in his youth, his ex-wife Rachel disappears without a trace, leaving him with their children, Hannah, 12, and Solly, 9. While Toby juggles looking after his children, possible promotion at the hospital where he works, and all the potential sexual partners in Manhattan, he realizes that he will never be able to figure out what happened to his wife until he can be more honest about what happened to their marriage in the first place.

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Guest

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date [1]
1"Summon Your Witnesses"Valerie Faris & Jonathan DaytonTaffy Brodesser-AknerNovember 17, 2022 (2022-11-17)
In the summer of 2016, Toby Fleishman, a Jewish hepatologist in his early 40s living in Manhattan, signs up for a dating app following his recent divorce from Rachel, a talent agent and his spouse of 15 years, and begins having frequent, casual sex. On advice from his therapist, he reconnects with his old college friends Libby and Seth, whom he met in a study abroad program in Jerusalem and had not seen since the first years of his marriage. Rachel drops their children—Hannah, who resents Toby for the divorce, and Solly, who conversely idolizes Toby and seeks his help on his science fair project—off at Toby's apartment a day early, compelling him to leave them with their babysitter Mona while he goes on a date and has sex with a woman named Tess. The next day, Rachel does not show up to pick up the children or respond to any of Toby's calls. Tess arrives to again have sex with Toby but believes she is being put on when she sees his children, and storms out. Libby, happily married, realizes she is envious of Toby rediscovering himself in the wake of his separation.
2"Welcome to Paniquil"Alice WuTaffy Brodesser-AknerNovember 17, 2022 (2022-11-17)
Toby fires Mona after he realizes that Solly used his computer to look up pornography, and takes them to Rachel's house in the Hamptons when she does not show up to take them. He is ejected from the property when the new housekeeper does not recognize him, causing him to have an epiphany about moving on in the wake of his divorce. He finally gets Hannah a cell phone and sends the children to summer camp, taking his time off to meet with Libby and Seth in Central Park. While talking about Rachel, Libby inadvertently plants an idea in his head that the reason for her silence could be that she is in danger, and leaves in a panic, only to encounter her friends at a grocery store, who tell him that they saw her napping in the park.
3"Free Pass"Valerie Faris & Jonathan DaytonMike GoldbachNovember 24, 2022 (2022-11-24)
In flashbacks, after meeting at a college party, Toby and Rachel fall in love and get married, although their respective professional successes and contrasting worldviews slowly drive a wedge between them. During Rachel's pregnancy with Hannah, the doctor breaks her water without her consent. Believing that she was sexually assaulted, Rachel sinks into postpartum depression until Toby hires a nanny. As she starts her own theater talent agency, Rachel becomes increasingly driven by success and wealth, causing her to miss significant time with her family. Their marriage continues to deteriorate, and Toby comes to resent Rachel's ambitious lifestyle, as well as her wealthy friends, who treat Toby's job with condescension. At a dinner with Rachel's friends, when asked to name a person she would like to have sex with outside her marriage, she mentions Sam Rothberg, the alpha male of Rachel's friend group's husbands and the wealthy head of a pharmaceutical company whom Toby despises for selling placebos to unsuspecting patients. In the present, Toby remembers this incident and looks up Sam on Facebook, realizing that Rachel's last known location is a short drive from where Sam is.
4"God, What an Idiot He Was!"Shari Springer Berman & Robert PulciniTaffy Brodesser-AknerDecember 1, 2022 (2022-12-01)
Toby storms over to his former apartment and finds evidence that Sam had been there, leaving him feeling emasculated and angry, which increases when Nahid, a regular hookup of his, rejects an offer for a date. He impulsively visits Libby and her family in New Jersey, but feels awkward around her husband, Adam. When Libby learns of Toby's dinner plans with Seth, she insists on joining them, but Toby rebuffs her and leaves. At the restaurant, Seth introduces Toby to his girlfriend, Vanessa, and reveals that he has lost his job due to his boss being investigated for insider trading. Toby realizes, looking around the restaurant, that Rachel was attracted to Sam because of his confident, forwardly wealthy attitude. He receives a call from the hospital and learns that his patient, Karen Cooper, a woman around his age with previously undiagnosed Wilson's disease, has been approved for a liver transplant, and he sleeps in the hospital overnight while she has the surgery, having an erotic dream about her. He wakes to see that Karen has recovered and is rejoicing with her husband, causing him to finally accept that Rachel is seeing someone else.
5"Vantablack"Shari Springer Berman & Robert PulciniTaffy Brodesser-AknerDecember 8, 2022 (2022-12-08)
Two years prior, Libby, a writer for a men's magazine, becomes frustrated that she has not reached the same level of recognition as her male co-workers. She resolves to write a novel but never does, and in the present, goes on a vacation to Walt Disney World with her family that increases tensions between her and Adam. Toby has a wild night out with Seth and later buys the dachshund puppy his children have always wanted. He again asks Nahid out on a date, but she explains that she is legally married to her husband, a conservative news anchor and closeted homosexual, who finances her lifestyle under the agreement that she occasionally accompanies him to public events. He is called to pick up Hannah from camp, after she sent a suggestive photograph to a male camper, who showed it to his friends but goes unpunished. Revolted, Toby takes Hannah and Solly with him, before telling them about Rachel's choice to abandon them. He considers confronting Rachel when he learns she is in her apartment, but decides not to. He takes the children to the American Museum of Natural History to see a Vantablack exhibit that he visited alone earlier.
6"This Is My Enjoyment"Shari Springer Berman & Robert PulciniTaffy Brodesser-AknerDecember 15, 2022 (2022-12-15)
Toby breaks things off with Nahid when he realizes he needs to have a more normal approach to relationships. He gets passed over for a promotion at work due to how many personal days he has been taking, and compulsively asks out one of the students he has been mentoring when she tries to reassure him, which she awkwardly turns down. In frustration, he chastises Karen's husband, with Karen having been readmitted due to a post-surgery fatal development. Toby attends an annual meetup for his college trip to Israel that he has not been to since he married Rachel and enjoys himself, although after observing an argument between Libby and Adam that reminds him of how Rachel once spoke to him, gets in an argument with her and Seth. Libby stops by Toby's apartment on the way back to her house to use the bathroom, and ends up lamenting about how much she misses her past before realizing Toby has fallen asleep. She falls asleep in his bed, and delays going home by wandering through the city, where she ends up sitting across from Rachel.
7"Me-Time"Valerie Faris & Jonathan DaytonTaffy Brodesser-AknerDecember 22, 2022 (2022-12-22)
Libby takes Rachel back to her apartment after she proves to be delirious and speaking in riddles. On Libby's advice, Rachel talks about her situation. Having lost her mother at a young age, Rachel was sent by her grandmother to a Catholic boarding school, where she immediately craved the luxury afforded by her peers. She became attracted to Toby because he did not care about her lack of wealth, as well as hoping to be part of his family. Following her traumatic birthing of Hannah, she began seeing support groups, but left after an encounter with the doctor in the elevator and decided to pick her life back up, leading to her agency. Unbeknownst to Toby, she secretly knew her friends were vain stay-at-home mothers and only latched onto them for fear of abandonment. Shortly before her divorce, Rachel began having an affair with Sam, which became more frequent after Toby moved out. He took her to a wellness resort near his house, where she underwent a meditation procedure meant to purge all her stressors and traumas. While there, Sam abruptly left her after deeming the wellness activities too demanding. Loving the resort, Rachel got rid of her phone and spent the rest of her reserved time there before returning home. Experiencing withdrawal from the lack of the procedures, she took an experimental marijuana pill that Sam gave her. The drug turned out to be a hallucinogen, and she ended up staying in her apartment for weeks on end while under the influence. Eventually becoming sober, she got a new phone and went to see her oldest and most important client, but discovered that she has been dropped after weeks of no communication. She wandered the city until she encounters Libby. Having heard her story, Libby puts her to bed and realizes the moral ambiguity of Toby's situation.
8"The Liver"Shari Springer Berman & Robert PulciniTaffy Brodesser-AknerDecember 29, 2022 (2022-12-29)
Libby goes back to Toby's apartment to update him, but he dismisses Rachel's nervous breakdown and asks her to leave. After taking Karen off life support at her husband's request, however, he slowly realizes that he may have had blame in other's lives and resolves to make amends. He becomes content with not getting the promotion, helps Solly finish his school project, and begins finalizing the details of Hannah's bat mitzvah. She reveals that she does not want to go through with it, and Toby, understanding the importance forming her own tradition holds to her, indulges her and gives her a private coming of age ceremony. As Toby rebuilds his life, however, Libby's falls apart; when she finally returns to her family, she finds them angry and continues to fight with Adam, who retaliates to Libby's apparent social life by developing one of his own despite her frequent attempts to apologize. Eventually, Libby attends a party Seth invites her and Toby to. As they realize the party is a front for Seth to propose to Vanessa, Toby and Libby make up with him and each other before discussing her idea for a book based on Toby's divorce. The conversation soon transitions into her thoughts on how her life changed after she got married; this time Toby listens, and he consoles her by saying that even if life may not seem worth it, she herself is. Finally at peace, Libby returns home to her family and gets in bed with Adam, where they reconcile. Toby returns to his apartment and looks out over the city, finally seeing the people beyond him. Just then, a seemingly-recovered Rachel opens the door behind him and enters, exactly how Libby said she would end her book.

Production

Development

On September 12, 2019, it was announced that ABC Signature had won a 10-studio bidding war for the rights to the novel Fleishman Is in Trouble, with the project being developed for FX. Taffy Brodesser-Akner, the author of the original novel, was attached to write the adaptation as well as executive produce the project alongside Susannah Grant, Carl Beverly, and Sarah Timberman.[2] On March 11, 2021, it was announced that the project was given a limited series order consisting of nine episodes, with the series now set to premiere exclusively on Hulu as part of FX on Hulu.[3] Upon the series order announcement, Brodesser-Akner said:

I'm thrilled to be extending Fleishman's life onto the screen with such smart, thoughtful and courageous partners. When I was writing this book, my aim was to resolve for myself the mystifying dynamics and politics of marriage and middle age. Writing the book didn't help much, so I'm hoping that making this show does the trick.

On August 13, 2021, during FX Networks' Summer 2021 TCA Press Tour panel, it was announced that Little Miss Sunshine filmmaking duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris were attached to direct multiple episodes of the series.[4]

The limited series was released on November 17, 2022. The first two episodes were available immediately and the rest debuted weekly.[5]

Casting

In November 2021, Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Eisenberg joined the cast of the series in series regular roles, marking their second collaboration together after Now You See Me 2.[6][7] In January 2022, Claire Danes and Adam Brody joined the cast in series regular roles, while Maxim Jasper Swinton and Meara Mahoney Gross joined the cast in recurring roles.[8][9] In February 2022, Joy Suprano joined the cast in a recurring role.[10] In March 2022, Michael Gaston, Ralph Adriel Johnson and Brian Miskell joined in recurring roles.[11][12] In April 2022, Christian Slater and Josh Radnor joined the cast in recurring roles.[13][14]

Filming

Principal photography began by February 2022, in New York City.[15]

Reception

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 86% approval rating with an average rating of 8.2/10, based on 50 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "The characters Fleishman Is in Trouble spends time with aren't the most likable bunch, but the series examines their foibles with compelling insight—and they're brought to life by a terrific trio of stars."[16] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 79 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]

Annie Berke of The A.V. Club gave the series an A− and said, "These eight episodes and the characters in them are doing their best, and Fleishman's best is far better than most."[18] Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the series 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, "This is an exceedingly well-cast show, with Eisenberg, Danes, Caplan and Brody all playing to their strengths and hitting notes we've seen them master in previous roles."[19]

According to Ross Douthat, writing for The New York Times, the show highlights the fine class gradations within the modern meritocracy, the psychology of meritocratic ambition, and the crucial, stressful role that marriage plays as a mechanism of social advancement. The show portrays the "privileged angst" faced by those who make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually but face lifestyle inflation and the demands of wealth without its promised security and ease.[20] Similar analysis was presented by Caitlin Moscatello in The Cut.[21]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2023
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Claire Danes Nominated [22]
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Television Film Nominated [23]
USC Scripter Awards Best Adapted Screenplay – Television Taffy Brodesser-Akner (for "The Liver") Nominated [24]
Writers Guild of America Awards Limited Series Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Cindy Chupack, Allison P. Davis, Mike Goldbach, and Boo Killebrew Nominated [25]
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries or Specials Fleishman Is in Trouble Nominated [26]
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Limited or Anthology Series Nominated [27]
Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Claire Danes Nominated
Best Writing in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Taffy Brodesser-Akner (for "Me-Time") Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series Fleishman Is in Trouble Nominated [28]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Lizzy Caplan Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Claire Danes Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (for "Me-Time") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Taffy Brodesser-Akner (for "Me-Time") Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Laura Rosenthal and Jodi Angstreich Nominated
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Leah Katznelson, Angel Peart, Katie Novello, Deidre Wegner, Anne Newton-Harding (for "Me-Time") Nominated
2024 Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Limited Series Jodi Angstriech, Laura Rosenthal, Tracy Kaczorowski Pending [29]

References

  1. ^ "Shows A-Z - Fleishman Is In Trouble on fx on hulu". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  2. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 12, 2019). "'Fleishman Is In Trouble' Limited Series Based On Taffy Brodesser-Akner's Novel In Works At FX & ABC Signature Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 25, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  3. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 11, 2021). "'Fleishman Is In Trouble': FX Orders Limited Series Based On Taffy Brodesser-Akner's Debut NY Times Bestseller". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 11, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 13, 2021). "FX: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris To Direct 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'; Sunu Gonera To Helm 'Class of '09'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  5. ^ Cordero, Rosy (September 23, 2022). "FX's 'Fleishman Is In Trouble' Sets Hulu Premiere Date". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 23, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 16, 2021). "Lizzy Caplan To Star In 'Fleishman Is In Trouble' FX On Hulu Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 18, 2021). "Jesse Eisenberg to Star in FX On Hulu Limited Series 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 19, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 26, 2022). "Claire Danes Joins FX Limited Series 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (January 28, 2022). "Adam Brody Joins FX Limited Series 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (February 11, 2022). "'Charmed' Casts Shi Ne Nielson; Joy Suprano Joins 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 11, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  11. ^ Grobar, Matt (March 21, 2022). "'Fleishman Is In Trouble': Michael Gaston Joins FX Limited Series As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (March 25, 2022). "'Fleishman Is In Trouble': Ralph Adriel Johnson & Brian Miskell Join FX Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  13. ^ White, Peter (April 29, 2022). "Christian Slater Joins FX Limited Series 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Petski, Denise (April 29, 2022). "Josh Radnor Joins FX Limited Series 'Fleishman Is In Trouble'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  15. ^ "Actress Lizzy Caplan Spotted Filming at Madame Bonte for New Hulu Show 'Fleishman is in Trouble'". Upper East Site. February 9, 2022. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  16. ^ "Fleishman Is in Trouble: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 28, 2022.
  17. ^ "Fleishman Is in Trouble: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  18. ^ Berke, Annie (November 10, 2022). "Fleishman Is in Trouble is a throwback set in the here and now". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 15, 2022. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  19. ^ Reoper, Richard (November 16, 2022). "'Fleishman Is in Trouble' slides some mystery into its satire of an upscale marriage gone bad". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 23, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  20. ^ Douthat, Ross (January 20, 2023). "Opinion: 'Fleishman Is in Trouble' and the Angst of the Striving Upper Class". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 5, 2023. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  21. ^ Moscatello, Caitlin (February 6, 2023). "The Fleishman Effect". The Cut. Archived from the original on February 26, 2023. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  22. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (January 15, 2023). "Critics Choice Awards: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 16, 2023. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
  23. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (January 10, 2023). "Golden Globes: Full List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  24. ^ Davis, Clayton (January 18, 2023). "USC Scripter Awards 2023 Nominations: 'Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio' Becomes First Animated Nominee, 'Top Gun: Maverick' Flies In". Variety. Archived from the original on January 18, 2023. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  25. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 11, 2023). "WGA Awards TV Nominations: 'Abbott Elementary,' 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Crown,' 'Severance', 'Yellowjackets' Among Shows Vying For Top Prizes". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 21, 2023.
  26. ^ Hailu, Selome (June 30, 2023). "TCA Award Nominations: 'The Bear,' 'Succession,' 'The Last of Us' Lead With Five Nominations Each". Variety. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  27. ^ Anderson, Erik (July 11, 2023). "'The Boys', 'Yellowjackets', 'Abbott Elementary' lead 2023 HCA TV Awards nominations". AwardsWatch. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  28. ^ Moreau, Jordan (July 12, 2023). "Emmys 2023: The Complete Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  29. ^ Clark, Jason (January 12, 2024). "Wonka, Barbie, Oppenheimer, The Iron Claw, Across the Spider-Verse Among Artios Awards Film Nominees". TheWrap. Archived from the original on January 14, 2024. Retrieved January 14, 2024.