If you like Darren Star shows such as Sex and the City, Younger, and Emily in Paris, youve most likely seen his new Netflix series, Uncoupled.
The first season of Uncoupled follows Neil Patrick Harris as Michael, a New York real estate broker in his 40s who unexpectedly dumps his boyfriend of 17 years. However, there is one thing Uncoupled does significantly better than its competition: texting.
Over the years, the way TV shows portray texting on-screen has become a well-debated topic. In part because every program has its own distinct perspective on digital communication. However, with Uncoupled, the star himself recreates the iMessage aesthetic while demonstrating a modern-day text messaging strategy that enhances rather than distracts from his story.
Before we go into the why Uncoupleds texting is so popular, let's look back at the evolution of Stars on-screen texting, starting with Younger, which ran from 2015 to 2021. The series about a 40-year-old lady Liza (Sutton Foster) pretending to be 26 to get a job in publishing depicts text messaging through colored text bubbles on screen, alongside contact names and timestamps. Youngers characters use iPhones, but you wouldn't notice it by the
Star upgrades his Youngers texting techniques to reflect technological advances. Both methods work well, although they arent always accurate due to the device being used.
With Netflixs 2020 series Emily in Paris, Star tries to improve his on-screen texting game. The show follows an American marketing rep Emily (Lily Collins) who is new to Paris, so the show has a lot of emphasis on texting and social media, particularly Instagram. At least the messages appear in bubbles with the iPhones signature blue and light gray message colors.
Both Younger and Emily in Paris can see full iMessage threads via actual iPhone screens, which is both enjoyable and annoying. On the other hand, it's nice to see the real deal. However, why not just create on-screen texts that reflect the iMessage software?
On the 2022 reboot of And Just Like That, Carrie and Samantha have been chatting. This is a smart move for this series, especially since Carrie isnt very tech-savvy. However, Stars' latest show Uncoupled highlights that on-screen texts can be powerful entertainment tools.
When I first sawUncoupled using on-screen texting, I thought, No, Darren Star. You finally got it right! At long last, the gray and blue text bubbles visually scream iMessage and correctly correspond to the phone used in-scene. To make conversations even more realistic, the series includes imitation iMessage Tapbacks that allow viewers to see text being typed out and deleted while corresponding sound effects play in the background.
Uncoupled's iPhone-inspired display includes names and pictures of the people in conversation, which isn't a feature present in real-world one-on-one text convos. But since those pieces of information are included for the sake of storytelling, I'll leave it at that. As the GIF up top shows, the show understands the agony of drafting brutally honest letters, and sends them back in favor of calmer, more calculated responses.
Uncoupleds on-screen texts might not be as fun or inventive as those from previous Stars shows, but their realness makes their inclusion more natural and less distracting, allowing viewers to take the show more seriously.