Reel Estate

'Oh, Hello' pays homage to the Upper West Side as "the coffee breath of neighborhoods"

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Forget living here a certain number of years, or having the "right" opinions about pizza: in our book, you can't call yourself a real New Yorker until you've logged a certain number of hours listening to crotchety older residents harangue you about the good old days, and how the city's being ruined.

For your convenience, Netflix has made it possible to bring that experience right into your own living room, with a filmed special of Oh, Hello, last year's Broadway play in which comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney masquerade as a pair of cantankerous, cocaine-loving roommates. Mulaney's George St. Geegland is a would-be playwright, and Kroll's Gil Faizon (charmed, I'm sure) introduces himself as "a Tony award viewing actor, and whether or not I live in your building, I am somehow on your co-op board."

The pair have been roommates for 40 years on the Upper West Side ("the coffee breath of neighborhoods," per Gil), and over the course of the show, they are informed that the landlord is shutting off the water between 9am and 4pm "to punish the unemployed." Soon after that revelation, they get a letter that their "rent controlled apartment is no longer rent controlled," and that their rent will be jacked up from $75/month to $2,500/month. (Needless to say that is... not quite how rent de-stabilization works.)

"$2,500/month for a measly five-bedroom with an office, crown molding, and a fireplace?" says an incredulous George. "It's our God given right to pay the same amount of rent regardless of property value or inflation!"

Unable to come up with the money, George and Gil end up living in Riverside Park, where their relationship begins to fracture as Gil embarks upon a romantic liaison with a raccoon. After their public access talk show Too Much Tuna gets picked up by NY1, however, Gil and George are suddenly rolling in cash, but it's unclear where each ends up moving. In the meantime, they attempt to stage one of George's plays, and take the audience on a factually iffy overview of New York City history through the decades.

The jokes are specific, to put it mildly, but anyone who's lived in the city long enough is bound to have encountered a Gil or a George somewhere along the way.

 

 

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