Friday, October 3, 2014

Pilot Review: Manhattan Love Story

Manhattan Love Story (ABC)
Premiered September 30 at 8:30pm

It disappoints me greatly to have to write such a negative review of a show with such promising leads. This has happened before, of course, but this show had the potential to at least be entertaining, and it’s not. The one thing I can say is that it’s leagues better than the show that leads into it, “Selfie,” though that’s not exactly saying much. Every show needs a hook, and this one, as described on my episode title bible,, is that the relationship between these two leads is “illuminated by how their inner thoughts contrast with their actions.” A coworker summed up her thoughts on the show before I had the chance to watch it by explaining that there is no reason such a device is necessary, and this show might have been a whole lot better without it. Alas, we’re stuck listening to the chauvinistic musings of Jake McDorman’s Peter and the na├»ve whinings of Analeigh Tipton’s Dana, both of which are meant to be endearing but don’t achieve that effect. I liked McDorman a lot in his recurring role as Mike in this most recent season of “Shameless,” and I prefer him as a nice guy. I just wrote all about Tipton in my review of her new film “Two Night Stand,” and I think this is a fine role for her, but not nearly as good as her part on “Hung” a few years ago. They both have potential, but this show doesn’t help them to fulfill it. It’s not the worst romantic comedy to hit the air, but it’s pretty damn trite and obnoxious to boot. I’m inclined to give it a second chance, but I’m not optimistic.

How will it work as a series? Peter seems to have realized that he’s not a good guy and that he should try being nice for a bit. I’m not sure that’s going to last, and I’m sure we’ll continue to hear all about the things that both Peter and Dana think as they say other things to each other. This universe feels too small, and I think this show might be better off if it ditched its premise and opted for a larger ensemble.
How long will it last? I think this will be one of the first to go. It was less popular than “Selfie,” which launched online weeks ago, and performed less strongly than “Trophy Wife” did a year ago, which isn’t promising. ABC has its share of successful comedies, and if this isn’t one of them, I see no reason for the network to keep it around.

Pilot grade: D+

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