Ben and Kate is one of those shows that has been done in one form or another a million times. Kate is the responsible sister and single mother, who has settled down with her daughter to live as normal a life as possible. Ben is her annoying brother, who has never grown up and always arrives at Kate’s house unannounced with a problem. The dynamic is not original, but that does not mean the show has to be completely clichéd. The pilot episode seems to forget that even unoriginal concepts can be done in an original way. Anyone who has ever sat through more than one sitcom will be able to spot the obvious jokes before they come out of the characters’ mouths.
The pilot of Ben and Kate starts with a prologue from Kate’s point of view. It basically says what the audience picks up in the first 5 minutes: Kate grew up too fast because she got pregnant at a young age, whereas her brother never grew up and always ruins anything remotely adult. There are times when Ben acts less mature than Kate’s 5-year-old daughter, Maddie.
Kate and her British female friend, BJ, work at Buddy’s Bar & Grill, which is also the place Ben and his friend Tommy hang out. The bar seems to exist solely as a place to set up overdone jokes. Kate walks around wearing a fanny pack, which the guys and BJ hate. This results in a nasty, yet playful, exchange of insults between BJ and Kate. BJ asks her friend, “Do you know what fanny means in my country?” Kate retorts, “Do you know what BJ means in my country?” To which BJ just responds, “Very well, very well, indeed.” Once the girls are away from the boys, Kate refers to her desire to have sex with her boyfriend George as having “the sex” and says guys want to do her all the time. Of course, BJ feels the need to point out they are not going to have sex if Kate keeps on calling it “the sex.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, this is the full Fox Fall Schedule with new shows in ALL CAPS.
Wednesday, Sept. 12
8-10 p.m. The X Factor (Season premiere, part one)
Thursday, Sept. 13
8-9 p.m. The X Factor (season premiere, part two)
9-10 p.m. Glee
The rest of Fox’s Fall 2012 schedule is after the jump.
FOX is notorious for shows with incredibly short tenures. Whether it was reality shows with absurd premises or just really bad sitcoms, a lot of its shows over the past decade lasted less than a season. In some ways, I almost anticipate most of their shows getting cancelled, even if I tend to like them. I know what’s done well and I know what’s not. I just don’t always like what’s done well. The fact is, network television is a rare and coveted entity.
New television excites me, though. It’s a new opportunity for a critical eye, whether my sentiment is “I like this,”, “I hate this,” or “I love to hate this.” The variables of FOX will most likely make this season very enjoyable.
The Mindy Project
I like Mindy Kaling and I don’t really have a concrete reason why. Her character type seems somewhat simple. She said in behind the scenes segments of The Office to basically be an exaggerated version of herself. The character of Kelly Kapoor is a caricature. She’s very over dramatic, immature, and lacking emotional development. Despite all this, she’s still charming to watch. Kelly went from an auxiliary background character to one worthy of an episode’s focus. She made me laugh, especially concerning her relationship “drama” over the course of the show. When I heard about The Mindy Project, I knew that I would have to give it a chance.
Kaling stars as Mindy Lahiri, an OB-GYN, who while a very competent doctor, has a lot of trouble with friendships and dating. The trailer was interesting and made me laugh, but I couldn’t tell much about the show’s premise. Lahiri seems to have a lot of the same mannerisms as Kapoor, especially concerning her fixation on men. The trailer also detailed her being charged with public intoxication. Her complaints about men and her struggle with alcohol could get old, but it might not matter so much if the episodes are funny.
Regardless, the show’s premise isn’t very much established in the trailer and self-contained shows do not impress me as much as shows with recurring arcs. Either way, I’m not sure what kind of show this is going to be. If The Mindy Project becomes a show about various neuroses Lahiri has to endure with her “guy of the week,” I don’t know if it can sustain itself. If it becomes a show about the delicate balances between her career and the discoveries of what (and whom) she really needs out of life, that seems a bit more promising. I just couldn’t tell. However, out of loyalty to Kaling, I would have checked this out regardless of what the trailer told me and I will watch at least a few episodes. I just hope it shows Kaling’s potential, even though I will miss her on The Office.