This article, “Who is John” contains spoilers regarding Hulu’s Life & Beth season 1.
Michael Cera plays John in Hulu’s new comedy series Life & Beth. John is a supporting character in the show who does not appear until the third episode, titled “Out on the Island”. He meets Beth, a saleswoman for a wine distributing company, Kerig. His character is pivotal to the overall story and the arc of Beth finding happiness in her life.
So, that begs the question…
Who is John in season 1 of Life & Beth?
John is a gentle, humble, and genuine farmer who works at a local vineyard on Long Island. John is also remarkably genuine, honest, yet socially awkward because he has trouble gauging social situations. He is the exact opposite of the fake pretty boys Beth usually dates: her boyfriend, a star salesman at her place of work, Matt, and also Travis, a man on the island all the mothers choose as their eye candy and encourage Beth to play a game of trampoline with.
I will note that John, in my opinion, was inspired by Amy Schumer’s real-life marriage to her husband, James Beard Award-winning chef and farmer Chris Fischer. Schumer has talked about how her husband has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in a Netflix special. Some of the behaviors displayed by Cera’s John in the series reflect this in social situations. For more insight into this, you can read the review of the series and the recap of the eighth episode titled “Homegoing”.
What does John do?
John has a girlfriend when he meets Beth. However, after they attend a fair together, they have sex on the lawn of John’s neighbor because he is not home. Well, he was home, causing John and Beth to run. They laugh about it initially, but Beth becomes upset, citing he has broken her trust. (To be fair, John does say he usually isn’t home). John tells her that he wants Beth to be his girlfriend. The next day, Beth visits John with her sister Ann to get her opinion on his. John then informs Beth he dumped his girlfriend, Katie, by text. (Her reply to him was priceless. All she did was send a thumbs-up emoji).
When Beth and John have to attend the funeral of her close friend, he dresses inappropriately in a wrinkled dress and shirt old slacks and does not tuck in his shirt. He also keeps asking if they can check on his boat. You know, even though they are going to a funeral, when they are at the funeral, and when transitioning to the homegoing. When they leave and head to the boat, John finds it securely tied. This is when Beth becomes upset. Why? Because how can she feel so connected with John and so alone at the same time?
Beth was ready to break up with him but saved his boat (well, it wasn’t his boat, but the thought counts) by jumping in the lake. When she climbs out, John gives her his red flannel shirt. Showing his assessment of the social norms, he puts on Beth’s dry yellow cardigan five times too small. To make amends and show how John can compromise, he decides to buy a television for Beth because he does not have one.
At the end of the season, in true John fashion, he cuts off Beth while making a speech at her mother’s homegoing to let everyone know what was being served. John interrupts her again later because he is afraid the food will get cold.
Despite his flaws, John represents Beth’s award as the light at the end of the tunnel. She is now in a relationship that is positive for her.