‘Platonic’ Features the Low-Key Darkest Joke of Any Comedy So Far This Year

Seth Rogen rarely riffs on real-life tragedies
‘Platonic’ Features the Low-Key Darkest Joke of Any Comedy So Far This Year

The new AppleTV+ series Platonic is an amiable, easy-to-watch comedy starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as former best buddies who reconnect later in life. Byrne is charming, and Rogen stretches his acting muscles by playing a beer guy instead of a weed guy, but this is, by design, pretty fluffy material.

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That said, despite its harmless appeal, one scene in Platonic is, upon closer examination, shockingly grim.

The show’s second episode finds Byrne’s character Sylvia house-hunting with Will (Rogen) coming along for fun. The only spacious property her family of five can afford turns out to be a former assisted living facility that “closed after COVID.”


Once they inspect the property, Will makes multiple jokes about how many people have died in the former nursing home — and there are multiple suggestions that the building is actively haunted by the ghosts of its former inhabitants.


It’s a funny scene, but for a lighthearted, rom-com-esque series, this is some pretty dark subject matter to joke about. The show isn’t just showing us a randomly spooky house completely bereft of context; Sylvia specifically calls out the fact that the facility shut as a result of the pandemic, which touches on a huge real-world problem. A ton of nursing homes really did close because of COVID, causing a shortage that health experts are currently calling a “crisis.”

As for the deaths Will alludes to, yeah, people presumably die in nursing homes all the time, but a staggering, truly awful number of people died in assisted living facilities during the pandemic. According to some reports, around a third of COVID deaths were in nursing homes. Which is so depressing that we’re including this adorable video of a puppy riding a rooster as a palate cleanser:

This isn’t to say that Platonic, or any other show, can’t use the idea of a shuttered, potentially haunted nursing home to comedic effect, but mining this specifically tragic situation for a handful of throwaway real-estate jokes in a sitcom seems a tad iffy. There’s a reason why Norm from Cheers never compared his thirst for beer to, like, the Challenger explosion.

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