We don’t hear a lot of the backstory about how the two were friends, and sometimes that makes for clunky exposition dialogue spoken by outsiders (“You were like teenage girls!” says Audrey [Alisha Wainwright]). And yet we don’t need flashbacks or many pictures to get a sense of that chemistry because it’s apparent in the energetic, free-wheeling work of Byrne and Rogen. Yes, the “Neighbors” co-stars are playing certain versions that look awfully familiar (Rogen, who must have recorded his Donkey Kong lines for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” on this set, especially). But they fire each other up in ways that provide enough momentum for each light episode, like when Sylvia encourages beer snob Will to eat at a tacky restaurant, only for him to leave wearing a bunch of merchandise.
There’s no threat of either of them getting the wrong signals from each other or changing the dynamic. Rather, the relationship can be made weird by external points-of-view, like with Sylvia’s husband, Charlie (Luke Macfarlane, from Stoller’s “Bros”). He has building jealousy that he smiles through, with a growing reason to be uncomfortable: the communication in his marriage has struggled since Will came back, and she tells certain things to Will and not her husband. Macfarlane excels with some of the show’s funny or sad but always gentle beats, presenting a good partner trying to be sensitive and supportive but hurt by being stuck on the outside.
When it comes to stirring up trouble of the good and bad kind, “Platonic” almost seems to have a contractual line not to raise expectations too high as a drama or a comedy. It more or less drops Byrne and Rogen into quasi-amusing shenanigans, like when Sylvia and Will check out a possible new home for Sylvia’s family, and it’s an assisted living care facility, inspiring Rogen to riff with snark around at his most self-amusing register. The same loose appeal goes for an incident in which the two do coke in a bathroom, or later have to repair an expensive painting.