Showtime boasted its best wave of original TV programs in 2021 with surprise hits like mystery drama Yellowjackets, late night comedy Ziwe, and half-hour sitcom Flatbush Misdemeanors. The year’s most underrated comedy follows fictionalized versions of stand-up comedians and show creators Dan Perlman and Kevin Iso and their daily struggles living in the titular Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush. TV Dan is a well-meaning, neurotic high school teacher that seems to know what everyone should do with their lives except himself, while TV Kevin is his blunt, pessimistic childhood best friend who spends his days crashing on Dan’s couch and making deliveries for a local restaurant in order to support a fledgling art career.
The freshman sitcom blends traditional cable comedy’s joke-heavy storytelling and prestige TV’s refined style and aesthetic. A true comedy in a sea of gentle dramedies, Flatbush balances dry, awkward humor with outlandish gags and unpredictable plot turns. Season 1 ends on a particularly dramatic note, though, as Dan lands in the hospital after taking too much of his anxiety medication. To make matters worse, tensions between the longtime buds are at an all-time high as Kevin’s listless couch crashing and Dan’s tough love helicoptering reach a boiling point. The finale concludes on quite the cliffhanger when Kevin retreats to drug dealer Drew’s (Hassan Johnson) place only to witness him accidentally shoot a social worker sent by his niece Zayna’s (Kristin Dodson) school.
Showtime heads back to Brooklyn this summer for Season 2, and Paste has an exclusive look at the trailer, which promises the return of such scene-stealers as Dan’s stepdad (Kareem Green), mom (Maria Bamford), and no-nonsense therapist Dr. Flowers (Yamaneika Saunders), as well as some familiar faces from the New York stand-up scene.
Like the first season, these 10 episodes were actually filmed in Flatbush. Picking up where we left off, Season 2 follows the unlikely and complicated relationships of Kevin, Dan, Drew, Zayna, and Kareem as they intersect through the worlds of art, drugs, and bike repair.
Flatbush Misdemeanors frequently flirts with serious subjects (gentrification, underfunded public schools, teenage struggles) but always approaches these darker themes with a disarming, laid-back attitude. The refreshing sitcom manages to be relevant and modern without feeling performatively “woke” or desperately topical, dry without being banal, sardonic without being too caustic. This push-pull direction aptly keeps viewers on their toes, setting up each joke for optimal impact. It’s a grounded series with a fully-formed and distinct voice that deserves your attention.
As film and TV licensing rights regularly shift from network to network, having a solid library of original programming is essential to surviving the streaming wars. Showtime has quietly built itself a formidable comedy block between Flatbush, Ziwe, and Desus & Mero. With more new comedies debuting this year, it’s worth adding to your arsenal of streaming apps.
Season 2 of Flatbush Misdemeanors debuts on Showtime’s streaming and on-demand platforms on Friday, June 17 and premieres on-air on Sunday, June 19 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Olivia Cathcart is a comedian and writer.