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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It Almost Was a SUPER FUN NIGHT, Now Off to Bed

Article first published as It Almost Was a SUPER FUN NIGHT, Now Off to Bed on TheTVKing.

ABC's Super Fun Night was perhaps the most derided sitcom pilot produced in years. The criticisms before the show even launched were so bad that ABC held onto the first episode and aired the second instead. But over time, the show proved it could be amusing and touching, even if it never reached levels that would lead one to recommend it to a friend. This week, after seventeen episodes, "...Till the Fat Lady Sings" aired as the season, most likely series, finale.

"...Till the Fat Lady Sings" finds Kimmie (Rebel Wilson) torn between two men. Long-time crush Richard (Kevin Bishop) kisses her, and when she tells her boyfriend, James (Nate Torrence), about it, James dumps her. Should Kimmie try to repair things with the man she's spent so much time with, and whom she cares about deeply? Or should she take a chance on her dream guy, asking Richard not to take a promotion in Germany to stay for her?

Kimmie has come a long way from the woman who had never had a real relationship (or sex) to being someone two men want. This makes sense, though, because we've seen her growth and her personality. There are things that aren't attractive about her; she's over the top, awkward, clumsy, screws up a lot, and can be self-involved. But she's also sweet, earnest, funny, and compassionate. These are the sides of her Richard picks up on, and because they've already had such a close, established friendship, it does feel believable that Richard might want to be with Kimmie.

I can't say I ever came around to care about Kimmie as Richard does. There are still too many negatives. However, she tries hard, and for that, she deserves happiness. She's a good person.

Super Fun Night surprised me when Kimmie chooses James. It makes sense. Richard may just be acting out because he's going through something with his father (The Nanny's Charles Shaughnessy), and so their thing might not last. Kimmie also doesn't want to hurt James, who took awhile to agree to date Kimmie because he noticed her feelings for Richard, so it would be cruel to make the other choice now. Plus, James and Kimmie have a really good time together and have developed an attachment. But because Richard is a main character and is originally established as the guy Kimmie wants, it still came as a shock that she doesn't pick him.

Should the series somehow be renewed, I do think Kimmie and Richard will eventually end up together. That's basic TV formula. Though it would be way better if Kimmie stayed with James and had a happy ever after because it bucks the trend. If this is how the series stops, the ending is perfect for where the characters are. If it returns, it will take some real bravery to not do what people expect.

Super Fun Night hasn't always done what's expected, though. The musical numbers, my favorite part of the show, even when just done as a tag, are fantastic. The characters are more than one thing. Some of the basic plots are predictable, but others are not.

Take for instance the friendship between Kimmie and Kendall (Kate Jenkinson). One would never expect it to blossom so well, so fast. They still get at one another's throats from time to time, mostly on Kendall's end, but I like that they also get along a lot. Their closeness feels earned, Kimmie being there when Kendall has no one, and I really love the way Super Fun Night develops Kendall into more than jut a stereotypical character.

The one thing that feels rushed in "...Till the Fat Lady Sings" is Marika (Lauren Ash) coming out of the closet. Yes, the signs are there from the beginning, but Marika meets Frankie (Hana Mae Lee, Pitch Perfect) and, two weeks later, can admit she's a lesbian? I think Super Fun Night does this because they worry they won't get the chance, but a more drawn-out arc would have been more appropriate here.

Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Benji (Paul Rust) are left in a bad place, having had sex, but he's still highly allergic to her. Again, this needs more time, and in the finale, there just couldn't realistically be a resolution to their story. Only so much fits in a half hour installment.

I don't know how much I will miss Super Fun Night, but I did enjoy it. Hopefully Wilson bounces back with an even-more musically influenced series in the near future. Not Pitch Perfect: The Series, mind you, but something that fits with her goofy sense of humor. And she should feel free to bring along her co-stars and recurring players, who really do form a nice ensemble over these few months of run time.

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