Breaking up is hard to do. That is a sentiment that crosses race, gender, sexuality, and any other factor we might come across. The modern breakup seems to have taken on its own life, however. Break ups are not only a private grief, but now a public affair that everyone and anyone feels the right to be a part of. Perhaps this is not a new manifestation of the human condition; I’m sure the lines of the public and the private have found ways to blur even before the internet. And yet, there is a certain loudness to the infestation of our public face to the journey of a breakup.
Adam (Marc Sinoway) and Josh (V.O. by Kyle Michael Yoder) have been together for seven amazing, wonderful, interesting, loving years. At least according to the breakup notification email Josh sent all ‘friends, family, and those in between’. As we probably are all painfully familiar with, Adam must contend with unwanted advice, opinions, and coddling of friends, family, and bosses alike while trying to remain stoic, grieve, move on, and get back in the game all according to other people’s usually well-meaning standards. His trapped-in-suburbia sister Rachel (Lindsey Lake), his wild times, frat boy themed sex party-going friend Jordan (David Edwin), and his kind of sweet, very off-putting Jesus worshipping neighbor Will (Jesse Reid) all individually and collectively try to help Adam and themselves in the aftermath of the breakup.
Clever and cute just about sums up Adam Minus Josh. Is it anything groundbreaking? No. However, it certainly resonates as truthful. While the characters might dip a big toe in the cliché, I could find truth and familiarity within each of them. Particularly the brother-sister dynamic and the disjointed nature of adult relationships between siblings. Childhood hurts visible only to us infiltrate interactions and the new components of adulthood and sexual/romantic relationships can be a difficult bridge to cross as siblings. Oftentimes personal struggles are compartmentalized away from one’s sibling and they end up missing huge factors that have made one who one is today. As a sister myself, I found Adam and Rachel’s struggle to connect as friends and siblings the most believable part of the show. The most enjoyable part, however, has to go to Jordan, hands down. While not all of his jokes land, the rapid-fire quips come in such a non-stop succession that if one falls flat, there is another one right on hand to pick up the momentum. Jordan’s joyous expression and quick wit energizes the pace of the scenes with the other characters and is to what I credit the momentum that the show gains in its second half. The opening third of the show has its funny moments, but overall it feels like it is reaching for a cliché or easy humor that becomes stretched and awkward. However, once all four characters come together for their night in, the show hits its stride. Adam Minus Josh is touching, funny, and really just a pleasant production to watch. While perhaps a little too neatly packaged, Adam Minus Josh does end on a hopeful note that is somewhat reassuring in the sad, dark dating scene of modern day New York City.