I want to live in this world.
Dana Fox has created a gem, and FOX’s comedy line-up continues to get better and better. It’s obviously not a priority for comedy, but it’s nice that the net has seemed to make it an agenda of theirs that the families featured are unequivocally not the most wealthy realtors or have the most happy-go-lucky lives. Raising Hope once stood out, but now I understand what Kevin Reilly has been up too. He likes his characters to struggle – to realistically struggle – so New Girl, Raising Hope, possibly but haven’t seen yet The Mindy Project - his characters are grounded in this economy, and Ben And Kate drives that even more so, even if none of the laughs come from it.
Kate is a single-mother of an adorable five-year old daughter, Ben is an unemployed idiot brother – and they have friends. That’s the premise. It’s a pitch that would not feel out of place on the CBS comedy lineup, but the smart pacing, endearing (and sometimes quiet) performances and actual honest-to-gods laughs that make this one to remember.
The story for the episode isn’t much longer — after many years of passing through town, Ben comes home to meet his long-term girlfriend – only to discover she is married! – and so, with the help from Kate, he plans to pronounce his love for her and get her back. Only, on the way to get her back, Ben hears through an accidental phone-call that the date Kate is about to have sex with is with another woman. Ego softened, Ben turns his car around (with a nice eight-point-turn) and runs to her rescue. He makes it in time, but it doesn’t leave much time to get to the wedding. Realising this, Kate hurries everyone up to get to the wedding – reinforcing a brother/sister bond (!) but Ben just misses the wedding. Both heartbroken, they decide to stick together for a while to see if they can be stronger as one then they are alone. That’s. Every. Beat.
The world, and general storytelling, seem like something straight out of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s playbook. It doesn’t have the snap-crackle-pop of her writing, but the specific non-premise-based storytelling is exactly the same. As well as the texture is being extremely similar, with both Dakota Johnson (Kate) and Nat Faxon (Ben) having the look and appeal of someone in Stars Hollow. Faxon, especially, grounds a character that otherwise could be from a very different show.
You might hate it – it’s a divisive show – but so was New Girl last season, and you might think it’s a bit hacky at times – just like Happy Endings the season before that – but I think the same reason people keep returning to those shows, and why they have become the funniest of TV, is the same reason people should watch Ben And Kate. Cuz… I dunno. I just love it, and I want you to love it too. Here’s hoping the ratings aren’t scary awful!
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