You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s focus being the newest addition to ABC’s comedy Wednesday BETTER WITH YOU.
The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.
The Elevator Pitch: A traditional four camera comedy that doesn’t suck.
The Plot: Maddie (Jennifer Finnegan) and Ben (Josh Cooke) have been dating for nine years. They know each other inside and out, a relationship marked by contentment and affection, seeing their commitment to one another as a “valid life choice,” something they proclaim often—and often loudly. Maddie’s younger sister, Mia (JoAnna Garcia), has been dating Casey (Jake Lacy) for seven weeks. With a shared c’est la vie attitude, Mia and Casey are smitten with each other, and thrilled to explore the oh-so-many things they don’t know about each other yet. But when they announce they’re getting married and having a baby, it’s news that throws Maddie for a loop. Surprisingly, the girls’ parents, Vicky (Debra Jo Rupp) and Joel (Kurt Fuller), couldn’t be more pleased. Married 35 years, they have recently adopted a carpe diem sort of philosophy, rather like Mia’s, maybe because they’re getting older and lost a good portion of their savings when the economy tanked. With three very different relationships tightly intertwined in one family, will it be free thinkers vs. over-thinkers, or will each couple begin to see things a little bit differently?
The Snap Judgment: Simply put, BETTER WITH YOU brings sexy back to the traditional four-camera comedy. Seriously. Don’t be fooled by a title that screams “Generic FRIENDS clone!” Aside from being one of the most pleasant surprises to come out of our dwindling stack of pilot screeners thus far, this new ABC laugher may be in fact be the funniest half-hour sitcom since that show about those six twenty-somethings who may-or-may-not-have spent a little too much time hanging around a coffee shop. Now don’t get us wrong, BETTER WITH YOU is by no means FRIENDS, yet. But thanks to the sharp writing of FRIENDS alum Shana Goldberg-Meehan, a uniformly likeable (not to mention easy-on-the-eyes) cast including Jennifer Finnegan (CLOSE TO HOME), JoAnna Garcia (PRIVILEGED) and Deborah Jo Rump (THAT 70’s SHOW), plus a relatable story jam-packed with genuine laughs, we’re going to go ahead and proclaim….
The Verdict: Being, BETTER WITH YOU is a more than worthy addition to ABC’s Comedy Wednesday. That and relative newcomer Jake Busey (who plays JoAnna Garcia’s very significant other) is the new Zach Braff.