May 3, 2012 § 3 Comments
Watchers of reality television, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings. We all have our vices. (I eat bacon like it’s the new superfruit.) I try not to judge. But I need to say this:
Reality TV is a parade of horrors. Have you heard Clay Aiken and Donald Trump have a conversation? I stumbled across that once, and it made me weep for humanity.
That’s why, aside from a few shows I record each week, I don’t often flip around looking for things to watch.
So it was a stroke of blind luck that I landed on NBC’s new show, Best Friends Forever, at the start of its first episode this spring. If you haven’t seen it – and chances are, you haven’t, because NBC put it in an oddball time slot and didn’t promote it much – here’s the premise: Two gals, best friends separated by distance, are reunited when Jessica gets divorced and returns from California to New York, where she moves back in with her bff, Lennon (and Lennon’s fiancé). Wackiness ensues.
It’s not the plot that got me so much as the friendship at the show’s core. Put me in front of an episode of any cop show or medical show or law show, and I couldn’t tell you what the trauma was or who the killer is or why everybody’s whispering like that, but I’ll remember which detectives/doctors/lawyers were buddies and how they busted each other’s balls all in fun. I’m a sucker for banter.
Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham are best friends in real life, just like the characters they named for themselves. They met in comedy boot camp at Upright Citizens Brigade, which explains a lot about how easily they play off one another, and their chemistry shows. The dialogue bubbles with real-girlfriend sweetness and insanity.
Yes, they’re still getting the hang of the show-writing process (interesting article about that here). And it feels like maybe they’re still figuring out exactly what to do with the supporting cast. (The fiancé isn’t exactly crackling with personality, and a little dose of Queenetta, the sassy 9-year-old on the block, goes a long way.) It’s not perfect. Maybe I just love the story of their story – real friends who cooked up a show about their own relationship and managed to get it on the air – but I was rooting for them to work out the kinks and make it. Alas, as of now, the show has been suspended.
Anyway, there’s a petition to get it started back up. And by golly, I’m so not a petition-signer, but I signed the damn thing. I’m not saying it’s the greatest show ever made — who knows how it’ll do if it survives — but geez. If NBC can give the Biggest Losers an entire season to shed their pounds, couldn’t we have given these girls a few weeks to get their sea legs? Plenty of other shows have had shaky but promising starts and gone on to be rock solid. There’s real creative thought going on here. It’d be nice to give it a shot.
Real friendship between smart, funny people is fun to witness. That’s as close to reality TV as I want to get.