‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’: Adam Brody, Josh Radnor on Why Marriage Stories Are ‘Ripe for Drama’

Adam Brody in 'Fleishman Is in Trouble'
Linda Kallerus/FX
Fleishman Is in Trouble

Fleishman Is in Trouble

Taffy Brodesser-Akner
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Starting over after separation gets messy for Toby Fleishman in the FX limited series Fleishman Is in Trouble, premiering November 17 on Hulu. Jesse Eisenberg plays the titular Fleishman, who finds more success on dating apps than he ever did dating before he got married. But his internet escapades — and his hopes of a promotion at the hospital where he works — are thrown into disarray when his ex-wife, Rachel (Claire Danes), goes missing. To figure out where Rachel ran to (and most importantly, why she would run), Toby will have to get to true root of why their marriage failed.

Fleishman Is in Trouble is based on Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s 2019 book of the same name, and Brodesser-Akner served as showrunner and writer on the series as well. The author told TV Insider at the Fleishman Is in Trouble premiere at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on November 7 that the series is a faithful adaptation.

“I love a lot of adaptations that are not faithful to the books; I’m always surprised by them. But this is a faithful adaptation,” she said. “If you like the book, you will like this show.”

Also in the cast are Lizzy Caplan as narrator Libby Epstein, Adam Brody as Seth Morris (another Seth as a little treat for The O.C. fans), and Josh Radnor as Libby’s husband, Adam. With so many marriage stories in our pop culture lexicon, we wanted to know what makes them so appealing.

“We just want to tell stories about ourselves regardless. I know the stats are changing, but still I’d say the majority of people seem to partner up,” Brody theorized. Marriage has “all the highs and lows of life in there,” he added. “It’s the joy of love and creating wonderful people and all the potential heartbreak and misery that could come from that. They’re just inherently ripe for drama.”

“Sometimes your partner is an oppositional force in your life, and sometimes they’re your deepest support in your life,” said Radnor. “There’s something about coming together and going apart that’s inherently dramatic. The stakes feel very high. The How I Met Your Mother alum continued, “Relationships are very dramatic, and marriage even more so.”

As for the author, the answer is clear: “The fact that we’re still getting married is the answer to that question,” she explained. “We’re always kind of mystified as to the fact that we’re still doing it, despite the fact that we no longer need it to own property or to have children. It is a part of this culture in a gripping way that I can’t think of anything else that’s as engrained.”

Fleishman Is in Trouble has its serious moments, but like the book, the characters have a heavy dose of humor. Brodesser-Akner said the creative team nailed the tone immediately, comparing it to Little Miss Sunshine in its dramedy nature.

“[Producers] Sarah Timberman and Susannah Grant came to me, and they just got the tone immediately,” she shared.

“The directors we hired first, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, it was the same tone that they use. It’s a very specific kind of tone and they did it first” with Little Miss Sunshine, she added. “We had very few disagreements, but we never disagreed on tone. We just always knew what this was. And then we hired actors who just immediately got it.”

Fleishman gets himself in trouble, but can he get out of it? Tune in to find out.

Fleishman Is in Trouble, Series Premiere (two episodes), Thursday, November 17, Hulu