The Cliched “Ben and Kate”
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.”