FWBL WTH?

Friends with Better Lives (Photo: CBS)
Friends with Better Lives (Photo: CBS)

Friends with Better Lives — CBS debuted its new ensemble comedy after the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. Did #FWBL make us LOL?

Show

Friends with Better Lives (AKA #FWBL), Mondays 8:30pm.1

Premise

Six friends in their thirties are in various types of relationships. Andi (Majandra Delfino) and Bobby (Kevin Connolly) are married with a baby. Will (James Van Der Beek) lives with the couple while he tries to reconcile with his estranged (soon-to-be-ex) wife. Kate (Zoe Lister-Jones), a social media entrepreneur, is single but dating, despite intimidating and hating every man she goes out with. Jules (Brooklyn Decker) gets engaged to Lowell (Rick Donald) in the pilot.

Pedigree

Dana Klein, who wrote the pilot and is one of the executive producers, worked on Friends. Veteran television director James Burrows helmed the pilot, and Fred Savage will direct a future episode.

What Works

The cast tries its best with the material provided. Unfortunately, the material is so hacky and sitcom-y, there is not much to latch onto. However, I’m curious to see if the second episode is drastically different from the pilot. I have a feeling putting a two-week buffer between episodes was no accident, as the pilot focuses more on exposition than anything else.

What Doesn’t Work

Watching this on my lunch break, I multi-tasked on other browser tabs. With so few visual jokes, Friends with Better Lives could have just as easily been a radio play than a television program. Also, there is an odor of network notes throughout the broadcast. Hashtags and cliches abound, which suggest audience research may be dictating what’s happening on-screen.

Verdict

I wish nothing but the best for Van Der Beek, so I’ll hold off on final judgment until at least episode two. The relationships seem a little far-fetched from the limited information provided in the pilot. CBS has had a tough time with mid-season launches, so we’ll see if that trend continues.

  1. The second episode doesn’t air until Monday, April 14. Thanks, basketball.  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv