Streaming services everywhere are having breakout hits with star-studded casts. YouTube Premium is no different. Their latest release, Weird City, has six episodes jam packed with an impressive cast list: Dylan O’Brien, LeVar Burton, Michael Cera, Laverne Cox, Rosario Dawson, and Ed O’Neill are just a few members of the impressive ensemble. Created by Charlie Sanders and Jordan Peele, the new show does not fall short with talent.
The series is a brilliant take on the classic trope “the haves and have nots.” It is set with a somewhat futuristic quality to it, in a city divided. On one side of a quite literal line are the Haves, the ones who are well off. On the other side are the Have-Nots, the ones struggling.
“The One” starts off with a look at “below the line” that divides them. It is not unlike what we would currently see in impoverished areas, but with unique futuristic touches. My personal favorite: a floating fruit stand! Then we see Stu, played by Dylan O’Brien, running for that line. He has got what I’m sure Apple or Google will eventually develop — a cool little eye thing that is like FitBit and Siri all wrapped up into one device. It talks, it gives info, it counts your steps… what is not to love?
There is humor, definitely directed at our current lifestyles. The rich are tired of truffles and too scared to go below the line to try their food stands. I might have had a massive eye roll right along with Stu, with the flavors and obnoxious sizes of the IPAs, and the fact that lager in a bottle is a thing of the past. (Let us hope that never comes true.) Also, apps are apparently no longer on phones, but reside within our brains. And, money is now credits. Even more unusual, football is called safeball and schools are called awards. Weird City, indeed.
Love is the focus of this episode. Stu is unlucky in love, and because he grew up Below the Line, he was never assigned a partner. That’s right — folks above the line are assigned matches. Dating is for the poor. Yikes! But since Stu moved above the line after he was 18, he still needs to date.
Cue a dating site called “The One That’s The One.” A site created by scientist Dr. Negari, played by LeVar Burton, it uses both questions and DNA to find your perfect match. It is an awkward process, but Stu goes through with it and meets his match, Burt, played by Ed O’Neill.
Despite the fact neither of them are gay, they are the perfect match. Always late, grew up in the same area… even their favorite restaurant! Dylan O’Brien and Ed O’Neill play it all brilliantly. You know they did not want to be matched, but you root for them anyway. I never knew the perfect couple would be these two fantastic actors, but here we are. Another thing I never knew I needed: Dylan O’Brien, LeVar Burton, and Ed O’Neill all screaming at the top of their lungs at each other out of fright. And then LeVar disappearing like mail through a mail tube. That was comedic gold!
What follows are scenes that are truly magnificent: Stu and Burt hanging out, cuddling, and getting to know each other. Seriously, whoever cast these two as a couple, thank you! We get the oddities of the age difference, too. Like Burt meeting Stu’s parents and getting along with them and talking about things way beyond Stu’s era. Then you have Stu meeting Burt’s kids, who are likewise closer to Stu’s age. They make it work, though.
Without giving too much away, or the future of Stu and Burt’s relationship, it was a brilliant, humorous start to an incredible series. The satirical look at our world is incredibly smart, and it does in fact make you think. Weird City lives up to its name. But there are wise, teachable moments underneath all that weirdness. Like Stu says, “anything, anything, can be overcome with a little bit of courage.”
While you will need YouTube Premium to watch the original series, the first and second episodes (“The One” and “A Family,” respectively) are currently free for all YouTube users. Be sure to check them out!