After taking it easy the past two weeks by reposting a few of the returning television series that we are most excited about in 2012/2013, Amber West and I return to our regularly scheduled programs and review two of Fox’s upcoming comedies on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate.
Everyone that comes around to The Ooo Factor knows that I have a slight obsession when it comes to watching television. But would you believe this is the very first time I’ve watched a TV episode online? This is something that Amber has told me I needed to do for some time now, but my DVR is always so full of recordings that I can’t really justify watching even more television than I already do.
But, when Amber approached me about reviewing two pilots that haven’t actually premiered yet, I said okay… even if this meant I had to sit in front of my laptop and watch television (I’d pretty much do anything for my WatchWed partner). And since it was her idea, I let her pick the shows and she assigned me Fox’s new Ben and Kate.
Prior to my assignment, I had already seen the previews. My first impression of Ben and Kate came courtesy of the promos, and I figured it would be a comedy that I’d at least check out once. And considering I’d already be on Fox (New Girl airs before Ben and Kate), why not stick around a little longer? But then again, why wait when the pilot episode is already available at Fox.com?
So let’s meet Ben and Kate… two siblings who have always had each other—and only each other on many occasions.
Ben Fox (Nat Faxon) is the brother who “never grew up” and Kate Fox is the sister who “grew up too fast” by having a baby out-of-wedlock. Like most sisters, Kate (Dakota Johnson) is the first one to admit that her brother is an idiot (and I’m adding that he’s a tad bit annoying); but no matter how tough life gets, Ben and Kate will always have each other… and Maddy (Maggie Jones), Kate’s five year old daughter… and their two best friends, BJ (Lucy Punch) and Tommy (Echo Kellum).
Let me say for the second time that Ben is a tad bit annoying. The character actually reminds me of a part that Will Ferrell would play. But my slight irritation with Ben is completely surpassed by my love for Maddy. Maggie Jones, whose credits include We Bought a Zoo and Footloose (2011), steals the show. She may only be seven years old in real life, but this little girl has what it takes. She’s not only adorable, but she’s extremely talented. The child actor’s comedic timing is impeccable, she nails her dialogue, and her facial expressions are—dare I say it again—adorable.
Miss Jones isn’t the only one who captured my undivided attention… Lucy Punch is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorite funny ladies. I first saw her as Paul Rudd’s annoying ex-girlfriend in Dinner for Schmucks and I later doubled over in laughter for her Miss Squirrel character on Bad Teacher. Of course, her British accent threw me for a loop while I was watching Ben and Kate, but I like it. I actually like it when anyone, male or female, speaks using their native accents. So many on TV today don’t, and I wish they would (Simon Baker and Alex O’Loughlin to name a few).
But back to Ben and Kate…
All Kate wants is for her little girl “to see what a good relationship looks like,” something she and her brother never had. And all Ben wants is to give Kate the help she needs to make her and her little girl’s life better. Brothers and sisters will always share that special bond, even when one drives the other absolutely bonkers. Ben and Kate are no different.
Besides Maggie Jones and Lucy Punch, I particularly loved Ben and Kate’s “Fox Family Meeting” location—under the table. They first found peace in hiding under the kitchen table when their parents fought; yet as adults, they still crawl down into their sanctuary when they need that time with one another to discuss the things that have got them down. It’s unique and special and one actually forgets just how annoying Ben can be (there, I said it for the third time) when his love for Kate takes over.
To be honest, it’s too early to award Ben and Kate with anything other than the SSTV rating. I mean, we’ve only seen twenty-some-odd minutes worth. Now, the pilot did show some promise… we’ll just have to see if the episodes can lift it up enough to keep it going once it officially premieres later this month. The new comedy follows New Girl, one of my favorites from last year, so the bar has been set pretty high.
What do you think? Have you watched the pilot episode of Ben and Kate airing on Fox.com? How would you rate it? Does this new sitcom sound like something you might watch this fall? I’d love to hear from you!
Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about another of Fox’s new comedies—The Mindy Project.
Come back next week when Amber and I review something...
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech