Thursday, April 14, 2011

Better With You is better all the time

     ABC's Better With You has refined the formular in introduced last fall. In last night's installment, the first in over a month, the series demonstrated exactly what it does. First, open with a joke strung between the three central couples illustrating their differences. This week, lies were talied up. Then present at least two stories that have some similarities and intersect between all six central players. Then, end with another gag split between all three. In this case, each couple takes some sort of magazine quiz. The younger two duos are searching for compatibility, while the eldest picks out a cemetary.

     Each of the six has now defined who they are. Like many sitcoms, Better With You doesn't so much as go for layers, as it does slightly eccentric characters with hilariously exaggerated flaws. Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) loses her job, but lies to her parents about it because she is super-career driven and prideful. Mia (Joanna Garcia-Swisher), Maddie's younger sister, also lies to her parents, but because she is selfish and doesn't want them to know. Her guy, Casey (Jake Lacy), has discovered a book handed down and read to generations of Putney children, is worth a lot of money. Mia only puts up a facade of not wanting to hurt her mother Vicky's (Debra Jo Rupp) feelings, but actually prefers the cash. Both daughters tell untruths to avoid looking bad, and both of their men support them in their deceit.

     The children's book turns out to be extremely racist, and so Mia, in another effort to not look bad, exposes the offense to the potential buyer and doesn't sell the book. While Mia and the buyer quickly realize how bad the book is as soon as they read it as adults, apparently Vicky did not when she read it to her children. Yet, she also sees the flaw as soon as she flips back through the pages. So that means Vicky was racist two or three decades ago, long after it was permissible?

     The truth is, the characters aren't all that likeable. But they are funny enough that viewers will forget that, as they do with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Seinfeld. Perhaps it's because it can make people feel superior to watch characters that are more broktne than they are. Or maybe it's just that Better With You is very, very funny, and so it doesn't really matter what types of people are featured. Either way, be sure to watch it.

     The show also stars Josh Cooke and Kurt Fuller. Better With You airs Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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