PN & Friends is a quirky, offbeat web series about life for young adults in Brooklyn, New York. The whole series is worth checking out, but our focus today is on Episode 20: Summer Distancing.
PN (Todd Montesi) is a guy in his 30’s, living the endless adolescent summer vacation made possible by life in a large city, with the connectivity of the internet. It’s unclear whether this is the Millenial dream, nightmare, or perhaps a bit of both. The complexity and angst of daily life are amped up by the challenges of the new normal of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. We see his life as he does now: through zoom calls on his phone.
PN isn’t terribly ambitious. The second greatest tragedy in his life is having lost his job at Costco. His zoom call friends/ former co-workers have to sort him out on the nuanced differences between being furloughed, laid-off, fired, let-go, GTFO, etc. He’s failed to file for unemployment, thinking Costco would call back any day. His old manager joins the group video chat to let the crew know that the lay-offs are permanent.
PN’s weekly call with potential love interest Kenzie (Kenzie Klem) fails to lighten his spirit when she also delivers some bad news. Again, another piece of information available to him has sailed right by in the haze of his screen-time driven, distracted approach to the world. These oblivious moments provide much of the show’s humor, as PN plays the fool for our amusement.
“…a guy in his 30’s, living the endless adolescent summer vacation made possible by life in a large city…”
One of the best lines in this episode comes from a friend advising PN to be more proactive about what he wants, particularly in relationships. His buddy says he believes in only two things: Joe Biden and love. However, PN is determined never to grow up, and in the cocoon of Brooklyn, he’ll never need to. He has a couple of bucks, his mobile phone, and good intentions. These things, it seems, make his life tolerable.
As PN, Brooklyn comic Todd Montesi captures the weird lost-in-time-and-space dreamlike state of shows like Adventure Time and The Midnight Gospel, where current reality slows to a crawl while you take a perpendicular side trip through a life not your own.
Getting into the groove of PN & Friends can be a bit of a chore because, while the situations are wryly humorous, and the dialogue seems largely improvised. There’s a lot of filler about “not-much” to endure before becoming invested in the ideas behind the narrative. Full disclosure: this may just be how 30-something people in New York talk these days. I’m 1000 miles and several decades away from knowing first-hand.
Montesi has a lot of fun with the premise. His friends are all wild oddball characters, and he gets some fantastic cameo appearances on the show. This one episode trots out luminaries from Eric Roberts to Anthony Scaramucci, to the Prince of Darkness himself (you have to look closely to tell those last two apart). Yes, if you were wondering how the devil was frittering away his downtime during the pandemic, he’s holding court with some dorks on a street corner in Brooklyn—socially distanced, of course.
"…if you were wondering how the devil was frittering away his downtime during the pandemic, he's holding court with some dorks on a street corner..."