‘End Of The Line’ Netflix Review: A Comedy Lost in Translation

I solemnly swear that, as a non-fan of comedy, I watched End of the Line with an open mind. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of double-entendres in general, and when they come from adults, they’re especially uninspiring and drab. End of the Line is a Portuguese-language sitcom that is recorded in front of a live audience and tells the story of a man named Ivan who is estranged from his wife and drives a van around. The Brazilian show is very clearly a local show that takes inspiration from the very real lives of Brazilian citizens. While some situations are quite universal, most of the time, the humor is quite culturally significant. For fans of comedy, I suppose it would still be of interest; however, for someone like me, it felt like a complete waste of time. Ivan and Sandra, his wife, are on the verge of divorce but still live in the same house. They’ve got a young son, and then a bunch of people they hang out with that appear in each episode. In typical sitcom format, the premise is stretched thin, so it doesn’t even cover the bare minimum.

The show covers the usual themes of young love, sex (of course), old love, work life, and most importantly, the struggles of being penniless. As I was watching the show, my 13-year-old cousin walked by and said it reminded her of something that would air on Nickelodeon, and I couldn’t get that out of my mind. Visually, the show is quite cute. It’s got nice costuming, the sets are wonderful, and it’s got some interesting characters for those who are interested. There’s a cougar who loves to spoil her (off-screen) young flings with luxury items while being a bus conductor, and a savage lesbian roadside eatery owner, who absolutely despises Ivan (as do the rest of the characters). Then there’s Ivan and Sandra’s son, who seems like he’s come out of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and to top it off, Sandra’s new fling, and the “inspector” of the bus company (whatever that means)– Robson. 

As a protagonist, Ivan is rather despicable and a really unfavorable lead character. Despite actor Rodrigo Sant’anna’s efforts to make the character likeable and fun, his brash comedy simply falls flat. I would imagine the actor is quite loveable otherwise, because every time there’s a situation that calls for an ad-lib, he’s immediately 100 times funnier and more charming. On the other hand, Sandra is the highlight of the show. Actress Roberta Rodrigues’ presence alone is truly electrifying. Every time she’s in front of the live audience, they’re over the moon, with the loudest cheers, and for good reason. The rest of the cast does a decent enough job of supporting the leads and keeping the show interesting. To be honest, I was overjoyed to see that the show has episodes running barely 18–20 minutes. However, in the first 2-3 episodes, I really couldn’t wrap my head around the show and its premise at all. It was almost like watching Big Boss for the first time (not for me, but much respect for those who can tolerate that chaos).

I suppose chaos is the common man in the world of sitcoms. For some time, I could not understand what the main hook of this show was meant to be, but I understand that this isn’t that kind of comedy. It’s simply leave your brain behind, be amused and have a good time kind of stuff, but I was unable to do that. Maybe it’s the fact that reading subtitles for a show like that simply doesn’t feel naturalistic, and that itself is the biggest problem. The only Portuguese I can understand are the two words I learned from Duolingo, and that really doesn’t help when it comes to this kind of slapstick, run-of-the-mill comedy.

Once the show progresses a little, the characters come across as more open, and the story starts to come together. Each episode deals with a mistake that Ivan has made and Sandra’s reaction to the disastrous outcomes. Unfortunately, a lot of the jokes are both old-school and trying really hard to be a representation of today’s generation. There are random jokes about WhatsApp and sharing nudes; however, the show also uses the (supposed) gay character just for laughs, and it really didn’t work for me. I suppose, on the other hand, I’m not really the target audience. Yes, this show is on the global platform that is Netflix; however, it’s definitely for an older crowd who will relate to working hard to make ends meet while simultaneously trying to provide their children with everything they’ve ever asked for. I would imagine 43-year-old divorced men who live with their mothers would possibly really enjoy this show. Make of that what you like.

I suppose this is technically a more traditional form of comedy, and what is most enjoyable about it is the fourth wall breaking, specifically when the cast steps out of character and forgets their lines or messes things up. Those are the scenes that actually made the biggest change in my expression. One would imagine I’m going through botox treatment considering how stoic I am while watching a show with a live audience that is genuinely overjoyed by End of the Line. I will not comment on the proficiency of the actors in this genre, as I have never actually watched anything like this before, and it’s not something I deserve to comment about. However, if you ask me if I enjoyed End of the Line, I would simply say no.

At the end of the day, I suppose the dramatic expressions and the over-the-top disarray that make these shows successful are all as they should be, and if you’re a fan of sitcoms, this is worth a visit. However, if you’re just looking for some entertainment and have a liking for comedy, I would say this might not be the cup of instant coffee you’re looking for. I suppose this is the End of the Line for me when it comes to pre-recorded sitcoms. I’d give this show 2.5 out of 5 stars. The extra .5 for the sets.


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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At the end of the day, I suppose the dramatic expressions and the over-the-top disarray that make these shows successful are all as they should be, and if you’re a fan of sitcoms, this is worth a visit.'End Of The Line' Netflix Review: A Comedy Lost in Translation