Everything’s Trash, which premieres Wednesday on Freeform, is a decent little sitcom that finds an effective way to frame and fictionalize star Phoebe Robinson. Robinson’s character, also known as Phoebe, is like Robinson a Brooklyn-based podcaster whose older brother (Jordan Carlos as Jayden) enters politics. (Robinson’s brother Phil was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2018.) She also shares Robinson’s tendency to truncate the endings of words — “generashe” for “generation,” etc. sere, a frivolous substitute for “serious.”
Co-created by Robinson and showrunner Jonathan Groff (“black-ish”, “How I Met Your Mother”), the series has Phoebe, somewhere in her 30s – Robinson is 37, but Phoebe probably isn’t – waking up late ( or waking up) into adulthood. This isn’t just to avoid negative publicity that could affect her brother’s campaign, but because she may be tired of dating losers and having her cherished “smash and dash” lifestyle — although she’s also right will defend “spreading my legs in discount Victoria Beckham for any man I choose, just as my ancestors would have wanted.” (In the inadvertently current opening scene, she is, after sleeping with an idiot – the memorable one funny Tosin Morohunfola—on his way to buy a plan B pill.) Still, there’s more rom-com than sex rage in this series.
Like many sitcom stars, Robinson plays a less-than-successful or not-yet-successful version of her real self who writes best-selling books — including the one that gives the series its name, Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay — and has her own publishing company, Imprint , performs as a stand-up artist, was a guest host on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, spoke to Michelle Obama for five nights on her Becoming book tour, and it’s no coincidence that he stars in the sitcom.
Phoebe is just a podcaster, the host of a show called Everything’s Trash that mainly follows her sex/love life; Robinson’s own podcasts — including “2 Dope Queens,” starring Jessica Williams, which became a series of HBO specials, her own “Sooo Many White Guys,” and the homemade “Black Frazier” — might reveal sex or silliness, but they reveal one Maturity and depth and range of interest that Phoebe needs to earn.
Still, Everything’s Trash is making waves in New York – albeit on a small budget – as part of a company whose other podcasts include Murder Gals, Skinny Ladies Who Eat, and Brooklyn Dads. (“I told you, postpartum, from a male point of view, an important voice was missing from the discourse.” “I’m so thankful that my wife’s pregnancy nearly killed her.”)
Like Broad City, a series on which Robinson worked as a consultant (and whose Ilana Glazer served as executive producer on Sooo Many White Guys), it is set in the wonderland of Brooklyn; There are jokes about gentrification and colonization, croissants and coffee. It’s also in the tradition of sitcoms like That Girl, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Caroline in the City, Younger, and Broad City, in which young women work and play or can’t find romance and not starting a family of friends (and sometimes families) against an urban background.
That the principals are Black – with the exception of Phoebe’s roommate, Michael (Moses Storm) – is new and welcome to this lineage. Aside from Michael, the designated sucker, the white folks they meet tend to range from cluelessly bright (“We mark every single holiday on the calendar just to be safe—we don’t want to exclude anyone”) to thoughtlessly patronizing (“Speak your truth,” says one boss who doesn’t want to listen) or just plain weird. (See “Brooklyn Dads” above.)
Jayden is as straight forward as his sister is unbridled. (“There’s no way you’ve had sex before,” says Michael, desperate to talk him into finding the youth election. “I haven’t,” says Jayden proudly. “I’m making love.”). His wife Jessie (Nneka Okafor) is a college professor who comes from money; Her generous child Aisha, played by Farah Felisbret, has a way with phrases like “Mommy, the babysitter doesn’t want me to watch Making a Murderer, so can you please tell her this is my house?” Wait and see what she says next.
Rounding out the main cast are Toccarra Cash as Malika, Phoebe’s producer and co-host; In a nice change from the usually wacky best friend, she’s smart and centered, and Cash does a lot to ground the series in everyday reality. Also solid is Brandon Jay McClaren as Hamilton, who Phoebe gets involved with without realizing he’s her brother’s opponent’s communications director. (He told her, but she was too distracted as she ate a cookie to listen.) More than Jayden’s campaign, their relationship between again and again is the show’s dramatic line, allowing Robinson to express deeper feelings (and also a horror of them). Robinson and McClaren have beautiful chemistry that gives substance to their scenes together; their banter does not bear the stamp of the writing room.
If Everything’s Trash, based on the five episodes under review, isn’t always as bubbly or funny as Robinson can get it to talk, it’s a friendly place, intriguingly populated and filled with possibility.
“everything is garbage”
When: 7pm and 7:30pm Wednesday
Valuation: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children under 14 years old)
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-07-13/everythings-trash-phoebe-robinson-freeform-review ‘Everything’s Trash’: Phoebe Robinson comedy has potential