What a state

Published October 12, 2019

State of the Union image

I just wanted to write a couple of thoughts down in praise of the TV series State of the Union. It aired earlier in the year in the US, I believe, and has just been shown on the BBC and via iPlayer and I absolutely drank that show up. Written by novelist Nick Hornby, the show consists of ten episodes of only about ten minutes each dipping into the lives of a married couple seeking counselling for their union.

We join them for the ten minutes before they head into a weekly session, and they get together in the pub across the road to prepare themselves for whatever lies ahead.

It’s a simple premise, but as always, these ideas that have a strong construct behind them can be hit-or-miss. Thankfully, this is all hit.

Rosamond Pike and Chris O’Dowd star as the couple and make up the bulk of the speaking parts. They are brilliant individuals and work really well together, although thankfully address the fact that they make an unlikely couple midway through the series. There are a handful of other people in the series (including a random appearance by Aisling Bea), but most of these are only there for our main duo to play off – like the couple who leave the session before theirs, or friends that they bump into very briefly as they’re leaving.

What’s brilliant about the show is that at ten minutes, you can either get a quick hit of this or binge watch the entire thing to make it more of a movie. How you watch is totally up to you but either way, enjoy the brilliant riffing dialogue and the gently unfolding story of this marriage on the brink. It’s an area that Hornby has experience of writing about and he does another magnificent job here. Although it was available on the iPlayer, I quickly bought the show for £2.99 on Apple TV as well, because for 100 minutes of genius, I think that’s a bargain.

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