Cooper Barrett and his two friends Barry and Neal are just your normal millennials, fresh out of college. They've got a good apartment, reasonable jobs and interesting romantic prospects, and maybe even a dream for the future.
Oh, and Cooper has been kidnapped, and is currently tied to a chair while large men with guns stand around him menacingly.
Every episode begins with Cooper and his friends in some bizarre and dangerous situation, before rewinding to show exactly what's going on. Cooper himself often addresses the camera directly, pointing out the stupider mistakes he and his friends make, and providing suggestions for how to avoid this situation in your own life.
Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life premiered on January 3rd, 2016, on Fox. Unfortunately, poor ratings ensured Cooper Barrett wouldn't survive its first season. Fox cancelled it on May 12, 2016, burning off the remaining three episodes in June.
This series provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Episode 6 starts with Cooper swearing off tequila since it causes him to talk in a "bad British accent." He then demonstrates said accent, which happens to be the way his English actor, Jack Cutmore-Scott, actually talks.
- An Aesop: Cooper ends each episode with a lesson, sometimes as simple as "don't do all the stupid things we did in this episode," but sometimes more complex.
- Big Damn Heroes: Josh is usually the one who has to come in and save Cooper, whether it be paying off an enormous bar tab or helping Cooper escape a bunch of angry tough guys.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Cooper directly addresses the camera, even turning away from the show's in-universe events in order to do so.
- Don't Try This at Home: Most of the lessons consist of rather simple "See this stuff we're doing? It's a bad idea. Don't do it."
- Five-Man Band: The main cast of friends.
- Cooper is The Leader as the main protagonist who most of the stories revolve around. A screw up and a hustler.
- Josh is The Lancer, Cooper's brother who's only called in for emergencies. Professional and successful foil. He's also married to Leslie, in contrast to the Will They or Won't They? between Cooper and Kelly.
- Neal is The Smart Guy, visually even a The Short Guy with Glasses.
- Barry is The Big Guy as the loudest, largest, and most expressive.
- Kelly is The Chick as Cooper's love interest and Token Girl who the others go out of their way to help.
- Happily Married: Josh is a variant. He loves his wife Leslie and their children... but he just wants something more exciting out of life. Hence living through his brother and his friends.
- How We Got Here: Each episode opens with Cooper in some sort of predicament before he launches into an explanation of how he got into trouble, yet again.
- The Load: Barry is repeatedly referred to as the "lovable idiot." Most of the problems in the show are caused by him, one way or another. On the other hand, he's also the source of the miracle hangover cure that the boys are trying to sell, so they can't get too mad at him.
- Satellite Love Interest: Josh's wife Leslie and Cooper's neighbor Kelly are both this in the first episode. They only interact with their love interests, and don't mention anything that isn't directly related to those love interests. Averted from the second episode on; Leslie and Kelly end up becoming fast friends and we find out more about their lives that don't have anything to do with men.
- Uncle Pennybags: Cooper's brother, Josh. He makes no secret that he is living vicariously through his brother, and is willing to pay for their partying if that's what it takes. This has apparently been going on since they were kids.Josh: I always have to pay to bail you out. With the tv, and the bar tab, and the time you shot out the window...
Cooper: That was when I was ten.
Josh: And twelve, and fourteen...
Cooper: Okay, fine, but it was dad's fault for buying me that BB gun in the first place.
- Will They or Won't They?: Cooper and Kelly, his next door neighbor. They share an amazing kiss in the first episode, but he chickens out and runs off. Then he gets kidnapped.