Relationships and Friendships
Set in West Hollywood, “I’m Fine” is the story of Nate, who just broke up with his boyfriend but he is okay with that. This is a fresh, honest, and humorous look at gay male relationships and friendship, and the line between the two that is often blurry.
Produced by Dekkoo, it is what they call a “pocket series.” Season 1 is made up of eight short episodes, each around 5 minutes in length. Director Brandon Kirby crafted each episode as a way to challenge long-format series and capture the short attention spans of today’s streaming television viewers. We look at the question, among others, as to whether loneliness leads to bad decisions.
After a late night out with his best friend, Nate finds himself ready to go home and spend another night alone. But before he can walk through his door, his iPhone dings and this is followed by a string of graphic texts. He reads them and considers them to be a sigh. We next see him sitting awkwardly on his hookup’s couch staring at the guy’s cat. He attempts to maintain his sense of pride by saying that he is not an easy catch and that he deleted Grindr a long time ago. His unconvinced and unamused hookup swiftly goes down on him before Nate can say any more.
For some this is uncomfortable and difficult to watch since it so neatly captures many relatable experiences that gay men face; in this case, the awkward encounter of a hookup with a stranger.
Because the episodes are so short, the viewer can get in and get out and still walk away from these quickly. In a very short time, the characters come to life and the drama quickly grabs our attention. We see the hypocrisy of Nate’s character, shaming Grindr users while he is constantly online looking for friends. We see that Apps seem to have become the nature of the game in modern dating. The possibilities of apps quickly turns into addiction. Nate’s bring left by his ex-boyfriend leads him not only into a stranger’s arm, but also to engage in risky sexual encounters once he starts meeting strangers, . Even though the character lives in West Hollywood, the signifier of hope for many marginalized gay men, he still suffers from the intense loneliness he feels even though he’s surrounded by close gay friends and peers. During his hookup with the cat-owning man, Nate has unprotected sex.
The web series is one of the first to have a discussion about Prep, the risk-reducing drug that is becoming ingrained in gay culture as it becomes more attainable for a majority of men.
Although the show portrays deeply complicated issues like loneliness, it does so with an outrageous and perverse humor.
“Other characters, like Nate’s BFF, Jeff, display aggressive, confrontational behaviors so brazen, you can only but laugh at Nate’s inability to take ownership for his own miserable truths. But no matter how much is on Nate’s troubled mind, he finds it difficult to open up to his closest friends, and so he sweeps everything under the rug.” His answer remains, “I’m fine” and this is how the series got its name—from the phrase that is said over and over again when people are clearly not fine. This is a great and fun way to see at how we look at gay men experiencing friendships and relationships, and all done with tongue-in-cheek.