From robbing a Publix with a stapler to stealing a car to warn the government about a battle between dragons and aliens, the Florida man has truly done it all. Over the years, Florida has developed a reputation for producing the most unhinged criminals in the country who have endearingly been given the moniker “Florida man.”
Netflix brought this phenomenon to television with “Florida Man,” an original limited series released on April 13. Characterized as a “dramedy,” the show is funny and serious as it humanizes the humorous crimes of a Florida man through heartfelt characters.
The show’s premise seems downright silly. Who could’ve guessed that Netflix would make a quality show from the legend of the Florida man?
The series chronicles an ex-Florida man’s return to his home state and the haphazard crime scheme that involves his family, lover, murder, theft and of course, a giant Everglades python. Within the hilarious twists and turns of this ill-fated plan, Mike, the titular “Florida man,” reconnects with his family and overcomes his gambling addiction.
After he moves to Philadelphia from Florida to escape the craziness, Mike finds himself indebted to Moss, an amateur, yet unforgiving mobster whose girlfriend Delly is as unfaithful as she is beautiful. Mike and Delly strike up a forbidden affair before she runs away to Florida to escape her mobster boyfriend.
Tasked with finding and returning her to Philadelphia, Mike discovers that there might be a hidden stash of gold at the bottom of a sinkhole and decides to stay and make one last gamble.
Meanwhile, a half-wit cop and a wannabe investigative journalist are hot on Mike’s trail… at least, they think they are. They string together real evidence and reach ridiculous conclusions, but luckily for Mike, he remains just beyond their grasp.
In another hilarious side-plot, a police officer on vacation with his family spirals out of control searching for his stolen gun, winding up arrested. He eventually escapes and delivers one of the funniest lines of the whole show.
“All I want right now in the whole world is my gun back and to get the f*** out of Florida!”
The several intertwining plot lines create a mini-soap opera that adheres to the archetype of the genre. “Florida Man” differentiates itself from other soaps by taking the Florida stereotype and bringing it to absurd, caricature-like levels.
Mike’s Miami accent, for example, is inexplicable considering the rest of his family is accentless.
Moss, played by Emory Cohen, was overly sarcastic and in undercover situations, excessively polite. His immaturity as a mobster was highly exaggerated by the acting.
To the non-Floridian, the show is funny, cathartic and its satirical portrayal of Florida calls outsiders’ perception into question. For the Floridian, it’s another opportunity to laugh at their home state.
Aside from being a funny and easy watch, UM students should watch “Florida Man” for the mere fact that we live in Florida. You may not have time for Netflix binges during finals season, but if you’re looking for an hour-long study break, this is the show for you.
In seven 50-minute episodes, “Florida Man” hysterically captures the essence of Florida while somehow still conveying a genuine story.
Thank you, Netflix, for eternalizing the notorious Florida man.