If you went to college, you probably spent a decent amount of time during those years thinking how once you graduated, your life would magically come together. But Netflix's newest ensemble show, Friends From College, perfectly debunks that myth. While you will acquire more life experiences and perhaps more wisdom as you grow older, it doesn't mean that you'll ever really feel like an adult. Because even as time passes, you may still be prone to make the same mistakes you made all those years ago. Bustle attended the June 26 premiere, where the creators and the all-star cast of Friends From College all agreed that the growing pains these characters go through is pretty relatable for most adults — college graduates or not.
In Friends From College, the titular group of friends met at Harvard and are reunited when the last two stragglers come to live in New York City two decades after they graduated. The Ivy League school is also the alma mater of the husband and wife co-creators — Nicholas Stoller (director of Neighbors and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and writer Francesca Delbanco. "What we drew from it, in terms of our own experience, was this feeling of this time in life where people are kind of like forced to grow up kicking and screaming, whether they feel ready to or not," Delbanco tells Bustle. The two got together after college, but their individual times at Harvard inspired them both. "And that you have a lot of responsibilities suddenly and adult life is no longer something you can put off any longer."
Cobie Smulders, plays Lisa — the youngest of the friend group — and says she understands another aspect that comes with the characters attending such a prestigious school. "These are all Harvard graduates, so there's already a lot of pressure there to be successful, to continue on with your career in an upward trajectory," Smulders says. "And I think that these people think that they have their lives somewhat together."
This disparity between thinking that your domain is under control but not really having it together in all aspects is a major focus of the series — and many members of the cast could identify. "I think you slowly start to realize that you never really get your sh*t together. I don't know what age it sort of dawns on you," says Nat Faxon, who plays freewheeling bachelor Nick. "I think for the most part, if you're hardworking or if you any kind of goals in sight, life just kind of takes its course."
He relates this to his own profession as both an actor and the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Descendants. "It's like when you're an actor or a writer or anything and you are sort of like, 'When I get famous' or 'When I get to that point' — I still don't feel like I'm ever going to hit that point," Faxon says, laughing. "But I feel like you just go from show to show and I'm able to do what I love and make a living. But I would never say, like 'Oh, I'm famous' or 'I've hit the big time.' I feel like it's just one project to the next." And it's testament to the fact that no one's life may ever feel like it's on track when an Academy Award winner can say he doesn't feel like he has hit the big time.
Annie Parisse is Sam, who has been having an affair with Lisa's husband since college. And she notes that reaching personal milestones doesn't necessarily make you feel like an adult either. Beyond thinking that Friends From College "nailed" this feeling, she also gets it. "I have two children and I'm continually like, 'When am I going to feel like a grownup?'" Parisse jokes. (She's married to House of Cards actor Paul Sparks.) "Now I'm to the point where I do ask my parents, 'Do you guys feel like grownups?' Because I don't and I'm still waiting."
Even if you aren't the same age as the characters in Friends from College, the message of stumbling into adulthood will probably resonate. Rachel Resheff, who plays Sam's stepdaughter Chloe, was able to see that firsthand as part of the series. "My character is kind of at the same stage that I am right now," Resheff says. "I'm 17 and so is Chloe and looking ahead at life, it's kind of like, 'What do you do with it?' Nothing ever seems to really go right for anyone, but I think that's kind of what makes it work — like what makes everyone stay strong is through [life's] weird dysfunctionality."
Along with Resheff's optimistic view of growing up, star Keegan-Michael Key also has some words of wisdom. "Two things. One is nothing is as serious as your mind makes it. Nothing, nothing. Absolutely nothing in the world is as serious as your mind makes it", Key says. "I will change that and amend that if we find ourselves in a war, but other than that, nothing nothing is as serious as you think it is."
"And the other thing is: if you spend as much time in your life worrying about what's good for you and setting boundaries as you do worrying about what other people think, you're still only half way there," Key continues. "You always have to worry more about yourself than what other people think." He's still working on taking his own advice. ("I don't do that, I don't do that — but you should. Do as I say," he clarifies.) Key says that he can feel as lost as his character Ethan at times — who is a struggling writer with a big marital problem. "I'm 46 years old," Key says. "If it wasn't for my girlfriend, I'd walk into a pothole every day."
So maybe you missed the Harvard cutoff, but when Friends From College premieres on July 14, you may recognize these characters and their struggle to "adult." But continuing to grow up may be just a bit easier with friends by your side who are going through the same thing.