Up Here: a musical romcom

Carlos Valdes and Mae Whitman stand facing each other in Up Here

Up Here began on the stage as a musical and found its way to an 8 part musical romcom series on Hulu. Carlos Valdes and Mae Whitman play the couple in this comedy about learning to love yourself as well as someone else.

Up Here is a simple story about finding your true self by facing who you are and ignoring the negative voices in your head. The series comes from from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who have created such musicals as Frozen.

Mae Whitman in Up Here

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Mae Whitman is all grown up. We’ve all watched her grow up for 30 years, with her perfect little baby face. Now here she is, an adult, still with a perfect (but more mature) face, and acting chops that don’t quit. Plus, she sings. She makes out with a guy. She dances.

Carlos Valdes in Up Here

The chemistry between Lindsay (Mae Whitman) and Miguel (Carlos Valdes) is simply exquisite here. Both are quick with the comedy timing, expressive with the emotional scenes, able to belt out a song, hold a dance sequence together, and let us know they are in love.

The plotline, laid out in 8 short episodes, is the typical falling in love, reaching an apparently unsolvable split, and getting back together again.

When they meet, both Lindsay and Miguel are coming out of other relationships and plagued by negative internal messaging.

Sophia Hammons, Katie Finneran, Mae Whitman and John Hodgman in Up Here

Lindsay’s brain teems with warnings from her junior high friend Celeste (Sophia Hammons), her mom Joan (Katie Finneran), and her dad Tom (John Hodgman). They definitely don’t want her to become the thing she wants to become – a writer living in New York City.

Carlos Valdes, Andrea Burns, Scott Porter, and Emilia Suárez in Up Here

MIguel’s head was full of unconditional love from his dead mom (Andrea Burns), and two people I wasn’t sure about. One was a macho asshole (Scott Porter) and the other was Renee (Emilia Suárez). Maybe Renee was an ex-girlfriend, but she wasn’t the ex-girlfriend he broke up with in the beginning of the series. Miguel worked in banking, urged on by his internal racket, but he was an artist at heart.

You could see the roots of this musical on stage in the dance numbers, especially in the kinds of sets that were used for the dances. Lots of kudos for using an inclusive group of dancers to jazz up the action. The directing chores went to 50% women: Kimmy Gatewood and Rachel Raimist.

There was a lot to like here. The music, the exceptional chemistry between the lovers, and the message about being who you are. It’s definitely feel good TV.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
WordPress Cookie Notice by Real Cookie Banner