The Opportunity 'The Kominsky Method' Provided Being On Netflix

The Kominsky Method Michael Douglas Sandy Kominsky Netflix
Anne Marie Fox / Netflix

A comedy on network television is a lot different than the ones on streamers. Or at least, it can be. So, how did “The Kominsky Method” being on Netflix impact it? Chuck Lorrie created the series and addressed the streaming versus network variances during a recent interview. But, unlike his other famous shows, Lorrie’s Netflix venture does not have a laugh track.

Along with “The Kominsky Method,” the big-time Hollywood producer is known for co-creating a string of network hits, including “Two and a Half Men,” “Mom,” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Then came Netflix. For three seasons, “The Kominsky Method” entertained countless fans on the streamer. The witty, wry, and contemplative dramedy starred Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin during its first two seasons before Arkin left ahead of Season 3.

The third and final season of “The Kominsky Method” bowed on Netflix earlier this year. In it, Michael Douglas returns in the titular role of Sandy Kominsky, while Season 2 newcomer Paul Reiser reprised his role as Marty, Sandy’s age-adjacent son-in-law. In a roundtable of sorts for WBTVG with Chuck Lorrie (creator of “The Kominsky Method”), Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”), and “Ted Lasso” producer Bill Lawrence, Lorrie discussed finding streaming laughs, saying:

“I’m kind of wired to work towards laughter. That’s just the way my brain [is] wired after all these years. So going for real laughs I can’t escape that. But, working with people on the level of Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner and Alan Arkin for two years and stuff and working without an audience gave me an opportunity to try and weave in more dramatic elements.”

To Chuck Lorrie’s point, Michael Douglas has dabbled in comedy as much as dramas on the silver screen in recent years. The same goes for Alan Arkin, who can deliver a gut-punch of drama to viewers, as much as a hearty belly laugh. Add in Douglas’ “Romancing the Stone” co-star Kathleen Turner, and you have a limitless canvas for Lorrie to use.

As “The Kominsky Method” continued, it called for more drama than comedy. In Season 3, Michael Douglas’ Sandy has lost his best friend to death and reunited with his ex-wife/Mindy’s mom, Roz (Kathleen Turner). And Roz is keeping a big secret when she shows up, leading to more drama. So, while the laughs are a bit harder to find, Chuck Lorrie salvages them. Speaking to weaving in laughs, Lorrie continued, saying:

“Moments where I certainly wasn’t asking the audience to respond with laughter and trying to balance the two, so that you didn’t get whiplash going from a comedic moment. Or, in fact, if you did get whiplash, it was on purpose and perfectly zigzagging from an over-the-top comic moment to something very, you know, poignant or whatever. So, that was the goal was to use the opportunity afforded by Netflix to step away from the rhythms of network sitcoms, which are very much you know they’re very much impacted by the commercials.”

Thankfully, there is no need for commercial breaks on Netflix. It has to be one of the tougher aspects of pulling off a comedy such as “The Kominsky Method” for streaming. You cannot break into the next “act” with a solid break. There is room for a brief pause. However, not one long enough for someone to think about the arbitrated archaic commercial break.

For a show such as Chuck Lorrie’s “The Kominsky Method,” he had to keep the momentum going for almost half an hour straight. To its credit, the dramedy had a unique cadence that made its first two seasons soar, with the second landing in Eclectic Pop’s list of 2019’s best TV. It will be interesting to see what awards season has to hold for the series.

I only wish Nancy Travis could have been in Season 3. You can binge all three seasons of “The Kominsky Method” on Netflix. It is amazing how fast each episode goes by, and the show’s staying power feels endless. So, this viewer is sad it is over. It brought laughs when they were greatly needed. For more, you can watch the entire roundtable via the WBTVG link above.