Series Mania 2023 Review: CALL ME DAD, Hilarious Gen Z Comedy-of-Manners
Alex Høgh Andersen and Magnus Haugaard star as best friends in Christian Dyekjær's series about one of them dating the other's mother.
The quintessential coming-of-age teen comedy American Pie (1999) laid the groundwork for a cultural phenomenon: MILF.
The acronym permeated the cultural zeitgeist, influencing not only the discourse of the era but also the way society perceived and discussed female attractiveness and sexuality. And it's hard to predict what kind of cultural contribution is shaping the television reality-show MILF Manor.
Nevertheless, the MILF episode in American Pie is the launchpad for Danish dramedy Call Me Dad, directed by Christian Dyekjær. Childhood friends Emil (Alex Høgh Andersen) and Viktor (Magnus Haugaard) are running a hipsterish sustainable catering company.
Emil, who has to deal with a whimsical girlfriend, learns that Viktor has been dating his mother Helle (Ellen Hillingsø) for several months. And the cringe begins, as the generation-gap romance is not the core of the miniseries.
Emil is the main subject of the miniseries that examines the delicate equilibrium between tolerance and emotional suppression. The initial set-up shares a basis with MILF Manor, however; it serves as a device to explore the interaction with a wider society and how personal connections are forged and maintained in generation Z.
Dyekjær's ambitions is to drive Emil to an emotional breaking point over the course of six episodes. The malevolent drive lies in the satirical nature of Call Me Dad that is apparent from the first minutes. Emil is a walking embodiment of a non-assertive people pleaser.
Defined by unachievable idealism, Emil's character turns into a caricature. And he falls into the thralls of social pressures and awkwardness stemming from not living up to the altrusitic and phlegmatic ideals with a mindful and Zen approach.
Call Me Dad is a basically a Danish cross-over between Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky and reversed Curb Your Enthusiasm. Emil is failing to live up to his ideals but the first episode avoids a major meltdown.
His frustration is accumulating to the point that he eventually becomes a walking meme: Hide the Pain Harold. The protagonist is ripe for an anti-anger management session but the predicament makes the series a hilarious Gen Z comedy-of-manners.
The rapid plot development soon turns into a minefield of triggers for the leading character and a suspense game the protagonist must navigate in social interactions. And the audience is waiting what will trigger Emil the most and expecting a major blowout and transgressions against social code and tolerance.