Neil Patrick Harris and Darren Star on ‘Uncoupled,’ ‘SATC’ Comparisons and Butt Botox (Exclusive)

From co-creators Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman comes Uncoupled, a new Netflix comedy starring Neil Patrick Harris as Michael, a man of a certain age who suddenly finds himself navigating single life in New York City after his husband of 17 years (Tuc Watkins) unexpectedly ends their relationship. The series then follows him as his friends — his business partner, Suzanne (Tisha Campbell), TV weatherman Billy (Emerson Brooks) and art dealer Stanley (Brooks Ashmanskas) — help him get over his heartbreak and back into the dating pool. 

With Uncouplednow streaming on Netflix, Harris, Star, Richman and the rest of the cast open up about the series — and it’s place in this current era of queer storytelling on TV — as well as comparisons to Sex and the City and at least one moment inspired by a real-life experience that will definitely have viewers talking.  

For Harris, who most recently appeared in It’s a Sin and The Matrix Resurrections, Uncoupled is a rare example of a series that’s telling stories about queer relationships “in such a lovely and inclusive, mainstream way,” he tells ET, while Brooks notes that “it tells about a wonderful, devastating, funny breakup through the eye of a gay man in his forties, something that has never really been done before in this format.” 

“We’ve wanted better representation of the queer community for a long time. We’ve worked hard towards that. We’ve been making progress,” Watkins says. “I think [Uncoupled] is part of the evolution and the change we’ve wanted.”

Meanwhile for Star and Richman, who made TV history with Modern Family, it was an opportunity to tell a more personal story. “This is our perspective. We know this world,” Richman says, noting that it’s “much more authentic” than an average sitcom.

Star adds, “This is a show written with a lot of really direct experience of being a gay man and writing it with a gay man.”

But at the end of the day, he just hopes audiences are entertained by what they watch over the course of the eight episodes. “I hope they laugh, I hope they cry and I hope they take away just the feeling that we all share the same feelings and the same stories,” he says.


Of course, Star is someone who knows how to make viewers do all of that, as he’s proven time and time again with Emily in Paris, Younger and most iconically, Sex and the City. And it’s the latter that Uncoupled is drawing the most comparisons to thanks to the fact that the series sees Michael navigating the ups and downs of having a sex life in a city where being single can be the best of times or the worst of times, depending on one’s perspective. 

Not only that, but from the setting (“New York is a character,” Brooks offers) to the music and even some of the scenes, including a moment when Michael’s mom falls through the cover of a sidewalk shed, it’s hard not to think about all the stories Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her friends shared for six seasons during its original run on HBO. 

But Star insists that any similarities that fans may spot on Uncoupled were not intentional. “Sex and the City, I have to say, is certainly a wonderfully, iconic show,” he says, explaining that “it’s a different animal because it just comes from a whole different place.”  

That said, it didn’t stop Harris and his co-stars from comparing their characters on Uncoupled to the four women. “If this was the gay Sex and the City, who would you be?” Harris asks before declaring, “I’d be a Carrie.” Meanwhile, Ashmanskas, who mentions Charlotte, says, “I think [Uncoupled] has certain similarities, but I don’t think that’s necessary specifically what it is.”  


What’s certainly specific to Uncoupled is the dating experiences only gay men would understand — even if everyone else is invited in on the joke. And one of those moments is when Michael finds himself in bed with a very well-endowed dermatologist, who would prefer to be the top in this situation. When Michael quips that he’ll need more than “poppers and a prayer,” his date offers to Botox his anus in order to help relax him. 

When asked where the inspiration for that came from, Star says that “it came from experience and nothing was, you know, fabricated.” However, Harris was less familiar with the practice.  

“I had never heard of the conceit of Botoxing one’s nether regions, especially the backdoor,” the actor says. “It just feels like, by design, that should be as closed as necessary, which is often. So, when I had heard that was the storyline, I was perplexed and I thought it was fictionalized. And then it turns out that that is actually a thing that some people do.” 

“Let’s all hope it is not a trend,” he adds. “I think it begets too many questions of which we all can agree, we don’t even really need to go there.” 

No matter what, it “came from a place of truth,” Star says, noting that situations Michael finds himself in after being out of the dating world for so long provides “opportunities for comedy and story and absurdity.” And that’s why it works so perfectly here.  

As Harris notes, Uncoupled “is both unique and super recognizable.” And it’s a show that allows viewers to “get swept away” by these moments, and characters, and emotions. “So, I was really pleased to be a part of it,” he says. 

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