“Hurting yourself is easy. Living is hard.”

Main Cast: Ron Livingston, Will Sasso

Creators: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Mort

It’s a wonderful thing when an underappreciated series charms new viewers on a streaming platform. Loudermilk, a Canadian series that ran from 2017-2020, is having just such a moment on Netflix U.S. in 2024. Viewers are so taken with the series that there is talk of a new season.

Ron Livingston stars as Sam Loudermilk. He is a recovering alcoholic, a former music critic, and a substance abuse counselor in Seattle. He lives with friend and sponsor Ben (Will Sasso) and runs his support group out of a local church.

Loudermilk (only Ben calls him Sam) is a curmudgeon. He blesses his friends, his group, and strangers with pithy comments on the everyday things that annoy him. Mind you, he’s not wrong about these things. They are annoying. But most people would let them go rather than engage with a random barista over her affected accent.

We are introduced in episode one to Claire (Anja Savcic), a teenager who needs to clean up. Her mother and Father Michael (Eric Keenleyside), who holds the keys to the meeting room, decide that Loudermilk will make this happen. Claire becomes Ben and Sam’s roommate and our third primary character.

The heart of Loudermilk is Sam’s genuine desire to help the people in his group stay sober and battle their demons. The group is filled to the brim with eccentricity and we come to care for these folks and root for their success. There are a lot of great performances from this group—some funny and some poignant.

Livingston, who most of you remember best from Band of Brothers and Office Space, plays his crotchety a-hole of a character with a great balance of humble humanity and hard-won insight into addiction and recovery.

Will Sasso is mostly fantastic as Ben, with a few low spots that are entirely the fault of an ill-conceived subplot. Of the many, many subplots swirling around, only this and one other that was interrupted by real life fall flat. That’s a pretty good batting average.

Loudermilk won’t be for everyone. He is, after all, a crotchety a-hole. But the writing is consistently sharp and witty, befitting the uncomfortable and mostly self-inflicted situations in which Sam finds himself.

Loudermilk is a series that may take more than one episode to grab you. Give it a little time to reveal the heart inside the curmudgeon. The three existing seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.  

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