Close Enough was first announced all the way back in 2017 a few months after creator, J.G. Quintel, finished his work on the popular Cartoon Network program, Regular Show. The series was originally planned to air on TBS in an animation block that never materialized so it was temporarily shelved. However, it was later revealed to be part of HBO Max’s original programming last fall. Now, three years after being green lit, the show makes its debut on the Warner streaming service.
The series centers on a millennial couple in their early 30’s named Josh and Emily and their five-year old daughter, Candice. In order to afford living in East Los Angeles, they room with their best friends, Alex and Bridgette, who happen to be divorced. At its core, it’s a comedy sitcom about balancing adult responsibilities while still grasping and maintaining youthful exuberance. As mentioned in the show’s description, it’s “about growing up but not growing old”.
For someone in the same stage of life as the main characters, many of the situations resonate with me. When starting a family, obviously Josh and Emily’s child is a main focus whether making sure Candice is doing well in school and helping out as the room parent to just wanting to connect with her and share the things from their past they enjoyed as a kid. But it’s also about providing for the family and finding time for themselves to still pursue their own dreams and aspirations. Close Enough conveys the struggle of this life balance really well in relatable ways while also building the familial bonds between all the cast including Alex and Bridgette.
The show seems to have a grounded premise, but anyone familiar with Quintel’s work would know that’s only half of it. Much like in Regular Show, these simple lives of the characters take an unexpected and outlandish turn and that’s when the excitement kicks in. Close Enough effectively draws upon different genres such as action thrillers, science fiction and psychological horror. Imagine battling murderous mannequins come to life, killer robots and stripper clown goons. These dark and demented twists bring the storytelling to another level.
Most of the episodes contain two shorts that run the Cartoon Network length of 11 minutes but the writers do a good job of utilizing every second. In addition to entertaining stories, there is great character growth in the short amount of time and humorous background gags and pop culture references thrown in. As the season progresses, the other regular characters like the roommates and their landlord and her son are developed more and given their moments to shine. It’s fun getting to know this unconventional family.
One aspect I really enjoyed, that may only pertain to me, is how much of a love letter the show is to Los Angeles. From the architecture of their apartment to bacon wrapped hotdogs to road trips out to Palm Springs, it really captures life in the city. Sure, there’s an episode on nightlife, but less glamorous things are also highlighted such as shopping in the Garment District and goofing off in the wash. Many of these things make me reminisce about growing up in the area.
Close Enough is an enjoyable show that covers relatable issues about becoming an adult and mixes in outlandish, off the wall elements for excitement. Stream this Channel Surfing pick of the week now on HBO Max.
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