There is a moment in life that sends universal chills down the spine: the second you make eye contact across the bar or grocery aisle or sidewalk with that old “friend” you haven't seen in years and hoped never to see again. Now you have to talk to them. It's a social mandate. What makes it even worse? When they're really excited to see you.
This quotidian nightmare is the premise of comedians Tim Curcio and Nick Ross' gem of a web series, Old Friends. In each episode, Tim (Curcio), a likable dude married to his high school sweetheart, Andrea, runs into Nick (Ross), his high school “friend” who loves to remind Tim gleefully that he took Andrea's virginity.
The series began as a stand-alone video for Funny or Die, based on Curcio and Ross' sketch show at Upright Citizens Brigade. But it proved so popular that they decided to make another, then another. In each episode, Nick shows up in Tim's life in a new and surprising way — yet, rather than becoming repetitive, the joke only gets smarter and more hilarious as their relationship deepens.
Curcio, Ross and their co-stars Natalie Knepp and Amy Flanagan treat their subject with sincerity, allowing them to stretch the game of the original sketch across an entire season. The smart writing, swift editing and brilliant music choices don't hurt, either, making for a concept so successful that they were able to sell the show as a pilot pitch to CBS.
While Old Friends focuses on New Yorkers trying to avoid a friendship, the new web series Curcio is planning will be quite the opposite: a story of a couple's disastrous attempts to meet new people when they move to our own concrete jungle: L.A. —Stephanie Carrie
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what's worth watching online. Watch Old Friends at bit.ly/oldfriendslaweekly. Read Stephanie Carrie's full interview with Tim Curcio and Nick Ross on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.