When the best performance of a show’s first three episodes comes from a well-established guest star, it’s not the greatest of signs for a show – even when its in its infancy. Best Friends Forever, while showing some signs of improvement in “Put a Pin in It”, continues to suffer from two big problems that really drag down anything it tries to do both emotionally and comedically: it has a completely unlikable protagonist, and worst of all, it’s really just not that funny.
The first problem is the one the show needs to address right away: Jessica’s character is annoying, grating, selfish, insecure… she’s really just an amalgamation of every recently divorced woman stereotype, struggling to find a path in the world once her husband bounces on her – and not even really abruptly, considering what we learned about their relationship in the first two episodes. In “Put a Pin in It”, Jessica is avoiding the inevitable, refusing to answer her mail because she doesn’t have to face her impending divorce if she does. In the process of being ignorant, she invades on Lennon’s attempts at building a relationship with her future mother-in-law, another annoyingly simple stereotype of the icy, middle-aged bitter mother who is only concerned with her child’s financial security, and not their happiness.
It’s really just lazy writing, and in the case of Jessica, leads her character down a number of predictable situations, which she plows through with her inability to think about her actions, and incessantly nags in her fast-paced, bug-eyed fashion. It’s not appealing, and when you consider the two stars are the creators, writers, and producers, it becomes a little disturbing they are willing to pare their comedic talents down to the most generalized, bare boned version in order to try and make a successful television show.
Unfortunately, the overwhelmingly annoying presence of Jessica and her first-world problem of having nowhere to put all her stuff she was mailed free across the country (saving her about $3000, I might add) stomps out any heart-warming moments the episode’s main plot might have construed. If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s Lennon and Joe’s relationship, which is already starting to show signs of wear and tear thanks to Jessica’s intrusions in their lives (how long the show can go with one character essentially fucking up anothers is beyond me).
Overall, the episode just feels like a complete disconnect from the narrative tones of previous episodes. There’s the whole Rav and Jessica history alluded to in the pilot, but the last two weeks, we’ve heard about three lines from Rav (did we really even need him in last night’s episode?) It speaks to the disconnected nature of BFF‘s writing, and the improvisational natures of the scenes just creates a lot of random bits and shouting bouts between the two female stars that don’t really grow into anything concrete towards the end of the episode.
What else happened in “Put a Pin In It?” There’s a cameo by an ancient Globetrotter, and the aforementioned JK Simmons performance, the episode’s lone shining point. It was nice to see Simmons play a more buttoned down version of the wise-cracking characters he is well-known for, and actually provided a little bit of heart to the conclusion of the episode, which of course, is an aww moment for the audience. Unofortunately, it’s hard to call a guest star appearance an improvement, because the show is still suffering from the same problems I mentioned back in my review of the pilot. If the show had received a 22 episode order, I’d be able to write off this episode as a growing pain, or simply a swing and a miss. But with only six episodes to air, the problems with Best Friends Forever don’t have a lot of time to iron themselves out, and stick out a lot more.
- Take Jessica out of the show, and I’d watch something about Lennon and Joe trying to figure out how to live together, hanging out with their friend Rav in a younger version of Cougar Town.
- Lennon trapped in a first floor fire escape was a poor attempt at physical comedy and/or small dramatic moments: she was clearly about a foot off the ground, and it wasn’t funny at all.
- If the funniest object the writers can come up with for Jessica to have is Molly and Holly corn husk dolls, this show really has no hope.
What did you think of “Put a Pin In It?” Praying the show will get a full order of a second season, or are you pulling for a different show like Bent to be picked up in the fall? Feel free to leave your thoughts below!