“Who wants bagels? I do, my name is kaaaaaaaaate!”
Here we are, seven episodes in, and I’m now happy to call this my favourite new show of the season. (Pretty sure I’ve said that before). I’ve had quibbles here and there, the show has had growing pains, but it has finally clicked – both for me, and I think, the writers/actors. The family dynamic the show assumed at long last works. There is still a while to go, but right now, this is just fantastic.
Most notable of which is BJ, who has become a delight to watch. Her original crudely contrasting character has started to fit in much more, and I can see why the group would want her around; why she is friends with Kate, especially. Kate, BJ, Ben… maybe not Tommy… They are all selfish to their own wants and desires. That’s just the way comedies like this work. A character needs something, so they go get it. This is what BJ does to a larger extent, and now I understand it because Kate and co. also do similar things.
The episode takes it’s title – “Career Day” – from a scare Maddie gives Ben. Ben says he wants to be Maddie’s guest speaker at school for career day… But as Maddie so aptly points out, Ben doesn’t have a career. And so he launches of his quest to find one. Meanwhile Kate’s hunky neighbor from Halloween is starting to become more serious, and Kate goes – gasp – on an actual date. Not without Ben “sussing” the guy out first though.
And that “sussing” is also what makes the show special. While the characters all have separate stories, they continiously talk, discuss and overlap while they are having them. BJ might be having a problem at the bar, or Ben could be trying to work out a career to have, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t also spend half the episode harassing Kate about her lovelife.
In a lot of comedies, the group start together in the cold open – pre-title sequence – they are hanging out in a bar or some such. The intertitle occurs and then the group are separated off into twos or threes of different stories. Stories that don’t flow together, but are funny separately. And then once their missions have been accomplished, they get together to laugh once again at the bar. Ben And Kate doesn’t do this. The first scene starts off a story thread, and the stories flow naturally until they conclude. Characters intermingle and live in the same world together, and while they still go about their separate activities, they never completely alienate each other. It’s just great, and probably what I enjoy most about the show.
Also, it’s goddamn hilarious!