Is The Flatshare worth watching on Paramount+?

Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Leon (Anthony Welsh). The sharing (Paramount+)

Imagine a post-it romantic comedy, where pen and paper, not an online forum, connects people; where changing the sheets has become more important than recharging a smartphone before leaving for work. The Flatshare on Paramount+ from December 1, draws drama from exactly that premise as two Londoners in love live together, but never at the same time.

Adapted from Beth O’Leary’s bestseller, this contemporary romantic comedy – the first UK original series produced for the fledgling streaming service – approaches a tried and tested genre from another direction.

Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay) is a young journalist working for an online publication, who shares an apartment with palliative care worker Leon (Anthony Welsh). The setting that may seem unorthodox for rom-com territory, but proves full of possibilities for people who like their cute encounters interwoven with social commentary.

Read more: All new on Paramount+ in December

Between them they have a highly illegal but practical arrangement, in which Leon gets the apartment between 8am and 8pm, while Tiffany enjoys access at all other times plus weekends. This extremely pragmatic solution serves to increase Leon’s income, while Tiffany can enjoy more space for less money.

Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Maia (Shaniqua Okwok) in The Flatshare (Paramount+)

Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Maia (Shaniqua Okwok) in The Sharing (Paramount+)

Executive produced and directed in part by Academy Award-nominated director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty), The Flatshare not only opens up creatively as our protagonists get lost for milliseconds, it does so without resorting to clichés. Clever camera movements and consistent use of split-screen conversations underscore their perpetual separation, while a few swanky London locations make this show look hip.

A skilled score also underpins some excellent editing sequences that establish the mood, whether it’s Tiffany making herself at home or getting over a recent breakup. Best friends Mo (Jonah Hauer-King) and Maia (Shaniqua Okwok) are also quickly introduced in that first episode, providing an ideal safety net for Tiffany moving forward. Professionally platonic but feeling a slight attraction between them, both actors prove essential in giving substance to this rom-com afterward.

Read more: All new on Disney+ in December

However, Leon and Tiffany have a few things that stand between them and happiness, other than their contractual obligation to never meet. Number one is her girlfriend Kay (Klariza Clayton), who is uptight, self-absorbed and characteristically territorial. She is the polar opposite of Tiffany, who can be an emotional wreck, but ultimately she cares too much for others who care too little.

Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay) in The Flatshare (Paramount+)

Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay) in The sharing (Paramount+)

Between his two jobs and high maintenance partner, Leon is set to continue to struggle unless fate or the occasional post-it note can change that. While The Flatshare slowly reveals its narrative tricks, from despicable ex-boyfriends to jealous co-workers, these writers have time to tackle one or two other topics. Whether it’s a satirical side swipe on clickbait-chasing websites or a subtle moment of social commentary among hospice residents on issues of inclusiveness.

Thankfully, along with these digressions into difficult areas The Flatshare reminds you to keep things under control. Gender conventions are still honored and deftly subverted, whether it’s a final disaster to separate our two romantics, or a crucial change of heart that will bring them back together. All contingencies are covered and audiences can rest easy knowing that Leon and Tiffany may be meeting after all.

Read more: All new on Netflix in December

What also makes The Flatshare extremely engaging is its take on contemporary dating, which is satirized through some expert observations. While Tiffany takes all the romance out of meeting someone by breaking things down like a job application, she perfectly captures that sense of criteria-driven dating, which makes everything seem so temporary. This may sound comical, but ultimately it has something serious to say about how technology has changed the way people connect.

Watch the trailer for The Flatshare

It’s a theme that nurtures that sense of loneliness in the crowd that so accurately reflects modern suburban life. This gives The Flatshare a contemporary identity that audiences will sympathize with, and also gives these characters an automatic pass of empathy, which should ground this premise and promote emotional investment.

There’s yet another perk, which demonstrates how romantic comedy as a genre has adapted to cultural conventions. This company now relies completely on technology to work effectively, as working from home no longer means a few days out of the office. Today that might mean working for a company in the US, but living overseas and never meeting face-to-face.

The Flatshare reflects this world defined by separation, where romantic connections are fleeting and conversations might as well be post-it notes on a fridge door. Still, rom-coms remain old-fashioned and are designed to bring people together, which, for better or worse, is exactly what this show does so well.

The Flatshare is available to stream on Paramount+ from December 1st.

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