Friday, April 6, 2012

Pilot Review: Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever (NBC)
Premiered April 4 at 8:30pm

In the case of certain shows, there’s just not all that much to say. Even if it may not be the worst show ever produced, if there’s nothing particularly interesting about it, it can’t be that worthwhile. On past sitcoms, old roommates have moved back in together under different circumstances, and the situation of boys living with girls has proven to be difficult. Merging the two is hardly original, and here it doesn’t produce engaging results. Lennon Parham, who I realize I know from her one-episode appearance in the first season of “Parks & Recreation” as a mother that doesn’t want to be told what she should think about a park in her neighborhood, is shrill and over-the-top as Lennon, the link between the old roommate and the boyfriend. Jessica St. Clair, who had short-lived sitcoms on both ABC and CBS in the past few years, isn’t much better, though she’s considerably tamer and more conspiratorial, which becomes tiresome almost immediately. Partially because of their videogame headgear, Stephen Schneider and Luka Jones remind me of the guys from “Man Up," and that is most certainly not a compliment. I’d really prefer not to comment on Daija Owens’ presence at all, since she’s entirely irrelevant and disruptive to the show. Starting out by talking about vaginas isn’t wise since characters need to be eased into, and stale “Steel Magnolias” jokes didn’t help. Obviously Joe wasn’t going to propose, and Jessica’s obsession with that was obnoxious. Again, this show isn’t entirely awful, but it’s hard to find anything to recommend about it.

How will it work as a series? Friendship and relationship sitcoms come and go more often than most other series, so there are plenty of tropes and storylines to replay and explore as this show cements its interpersonal relationships. Eventually, Jessica and Joe are sure to become good friends, and maybe Jessica will even get a boyfriend. Its developments are likely to be predictable and expected.
How long will it last? The premiere numbers weren’t impressive, and I doubt there’s anyone clamoring to see another episode of this show. Premiering so late into midseason on a night that NBC clearly isn’t invested in won’t help this show, and there’s definitely no chance of it making to the fall. Whether or not it even makes it through its six-episode order is a question, though I’m not sure NBC will rush to pull it since it’s such a small order in the first place.

Pilot grade: C-

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