Long stretches of Peacock’s Wolf Like Me are basically a two-hander with characters played by Isla Fisher and Josh Gad tentatively embarking on a new romance while discussing the challenges of finding love in your 40s, opening yourself up and exposing your baggage, your damage, to another person. These conversations are held on park benches and at dinner tables. Abe Forsythe frames them to emphasize the gap between their heroes, the gap that they are trying to fill.
You might be perplexed to know that Wolf Like Me is a show about the strained relationships and the healing properties of love and openness — more like Scenes From a Marriage or State of the Union than the genre-defying, supernatural-adjacent series Peacock wants people to think it is. This is the challenge of writing about Wolf Like Me and watching There’s the story Forsythe wants, and then there’s his subtext to get people to watch. Although it’s a show that uses broad metaphors (perhaps a few too many), they are not always fully realized but the episodes add a lot of fun and amusement.
Wolf Like Me
The Bottom Line
Strong performances make this a genre mashup.
Airdate: Thursday, January 13
Cast: Isla Fisher, Josh Gad, Ariel Donoghue
Creator: Abe Forsythe
The series is set in Adelaide (Australia), where Gary (Gad), a single dad, is still grieving the loss of his wife many years ago and is struggling with the possibility his residual grief may be warping his solemn teenage daughter (Ariel Donoghue’s Emma). Mary (Fisher), a columnist and advice columnist, helps him after a dramatic car accident. Mary is sympathetic to Emma and Gary for both professional and personal reasons. However, she cannot help but reveal a terrible secret. However, she may not have the option.
You can guess Mary’s secret from the show’s title and trailers, or the dark build-up in the first episode. I found this episode to be the most disturbing of the initial run. It’s not the secret that’s important, but the meaning of it — and the way Forsythe approaches this, which alternates between dark humor with treating it as the near-universal embodiment of every personal flaw that could or should be a problem when searching for a partner. It’s important to not let the twist become the main genre Wolf Like Me operates in. Instead, it’s better for you to be tickled by its inclusion than to be deeply invested. You can also treat it as a strange wrinkle and not be discouraged if the show isn’t about hurt souls.
Forsythe also dabbles in the cosmic, but he doesn’t always connect the dots. Mary and Gary are reunited by one strange meet-cute after the other. Whether it’s Emma’s school project on solar system or Mary’s fascination with Carl Sagan – Forsythe almost has a unified field theory linking forces that govern the universe and love.
Love here is irrational. Love is hyper-rational. And, yes, it is spiritual. The series frequently refers to Shevirat ha Kelim, a Jewish mystical tradition that involves the breaking down of vessels in order to allow light to pass through and healing. Things in Wolf Like Me are constantly breaking or crashing into each other — frequently in unco