When I saw there was a new Danish show on Sundance Now called “Couple Trouble,” I assumed that the trouble was murder. Because every Scandinavian show that seems to make it to America seems to be a dark mystery series (like the Norwegian “Wisting,” which just wrapped up its first season on Sundance Now this week.)
But no, “Couple Trouble,” (called “Hand in Hand” in Denmark) which premiered Thursday, only kills with kindness. It’s a sweet comedy-drama about a charming married couple trying to work through their problems in counselling. The show presents their seven-year relationship in flashbacks, starting with their meet-cute in the first episode and hitting the ups and downs of their marriage in the remaining seven episodes.
Anders (Esben Dalgaard Andersen) is a firefighter who, freshly dumped by his girlfriend, crashes at the firehouse while he’s trying to figure his life. (Anders is referred to repeatedly as “chubby,” although that must only be by the ultra-fit standards of Danes. In Wisconsin he’d be mistaken for a triathlete.)
Lise (Ditte Ylva Olsen) is an advertising executive trying to work up a “romantic” ad campaign for a local bank. (“Bank at first sight” is the best she can come up with.) The two meet at a coffee shop when Anders catches a teen trying to steal Lise’s bike, and although Anders is reluctant to jump back into the dating scene, the attraction is undeniable.
“Couple Trouble” adheres to some pretty tried-and-true tropes of the rom-com genre, including, yes, a last-minute dash to the airport at the end of the first episode. But Andersen and Olsen have an endearing chemistry together as a thirtysomething couple, both bringing their own baggage into a new relationship while trying to stay open-hearted and optimistic.
I don’t have much doubt that these two lovebirds will find a way to work things out — this is a much sunnier take on long-term relationships than, say, “Marriage Story.” But “Couple Trouble” is such an endearing show that it makes you want to stick around to see the inevitable happy ending.
Also on streaming: Maria Bamford is one of the best stand-up comedians around, and her new comedy special “Weakness is My Brand” is easily worth the $5 to download it from iTunes, Amazon Prime and other sources. Bamford delivers a stellar set about politics, mental health and her parents, and ends with her and husband Scott Cassidy singing a very funny song about their marriage that ends with the refrain, “I love you, you love me, let’s just shut up.”
Just a couple of weeks after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Jeff Baena’s “Horse Girl” premieres on Netflix this Friday. Alison Brie stars and co-wrote the film with Baena about a troubled young woman who slowly loses her grip on reality. It seems like a darker turn for Baena, known for more comedic films like "The Little Hours" and "Life After Beth."
The comic book series “Locke & Key” makes the jump to Netflix for a new drama series premiering on Friday. Three siblings move into the childhood home of their murdered father and discover all sorts of strange keys that can bend reality in powerful and unsettling ways. The premise reminds me a little of "Umbrella Academy," but the participation of author Joe Hill ("NOS4A2") has me intrigued.