Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not for review: ABC's "Better With You"

"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.
The show: ABC's "Better With You"
The premise: Mia (JoAnna Garcia) and Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) are sisters, but couldn't be more different. Mia jumps from relationship to relationship, whereas Maddie has been with her boyfriend Ben for nine years. When Mia's new guy turns out to be The One, it shakes up Maddie and Ben's relationship and has an unexpected effect on Maddie and Mia's parents.
My thoughts: "Better With You" is a rarity these days: a traditional, multi-camera, family sitcom. It's also the first sitcom I've previewed where I didn't laugh once. That's too bad, because Garcia and Finnigan are enormously appealing actresses. I could see myself enjoying a show where they played mismatched sisters. I just don't think this is it. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not blaming the format. It's still 100 percent possible to make a good multi-camera sitcom. It's just that the writing feels lazy. Every joke is too obvious. Every character development rings false. Unless it's seriously re-tooled, I'm not sure I'd watch another episode.

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