Fall Preview ‘10: BETTER WITH YOU

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.

For all the latest TV news and reviews

  • Jeffrey Bryan

    I still miss Committed (the first series starring Jennifer Finnegan and Josh Cooke as a couple). That show was hysterical!

  • Nick

    Kudos to ABC for continuing quality comedy development. This gives them an extremely solid Wednesday 2-hour block.

    Funny, you'd think the networks who *gave up* trying to produce comedies would look at the big picture…..comedies sell big, both in repeats, syndication and DVDs. Soapy dramas and reality shows, which are quickly dated, don't even make a blip in REPEATS, let alone syndie or DVD sales. So which is the better investment?

    ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have all achieved success with comedy. So it's not what “network” they air on, it's the quality of the show. Bring the funny, it'll bring the viewers.

  • Ace

    So glad to hear that this is enjoyable. Joanna Garcia is so likeable that she just belongs on TV. Although, I still kind of wish they had made her the mother…

  • joshemerson

    That's a pretty big statement you're making. You really think this show is better than ones like How I Met Your Mother that came after Friends?

    It's good to hear that it's a quality show though. It initially sounded like filler that was unfit to join the golden ABC Wednesday lineup.

  • Nick

    I realize it's blasphemy in some corners…but I don't find “How I Met Your Mother” particularly funny. (duck & cover) It definitely ranks below all of the ABC and NBC sitcoms, as well as Big Bang Theory, for me.

  • Flyfreemama

    it reminded me of “Accidentally on Purpose” only NOT funny. what's the demographic?? I wouldn't watch it agin that was 30 minutes of my life i can't get back.

  • Susie

    We love Better With You. But we’re old. We relate to the parents and whomever is writing their dialog has probably been following us in the grocery.

  • BKarbousky

    I think the show is great. Better than most crap that they put on tv.