Ben and Kate – Pilot Review

Vital Signs…DVR or DNR?: THE NEW FOX TUESDAY

 

It is official. Fall television is back full force. But amidst favorite returning shows we have new series that must struggle to survive their first season. Two such shows premiere tonight on FOX as part of their new Tuesday night comedy block (AKA the reason my beloved Glee was moved to Thursdays to contend with all of the other shows I watch). Joining hits New Girl and Raising Hope we have newbies Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project.

 

BEN AND KATE

 

Tuesdays 8:30 EST, Fox

Premieres September 25th

 

A girl who had to grow up too fast deals with a brother who never grew up at all. Kate has been raising her young child Maddie on her own; her brother Ben, on the other hand, has been living his own crazy life and only periodically checking in on his family. This changes when Ben returns home to visit an ex-girlfriend and finds out that she is getting married. Brother and sister concoct an elaborate (and ultimately unsuccessful) plan to stop the wedding, and being together again shows them how much they are missing in their lives. Ben decides to stick around and help his sister get her act together. And thus a show is born.

 

Familiar Faces: Lucy Punch (evil stepsister in Ella Enchanted), Maggie Elizabeth Jones (the little girl in We Bought a Zoo).

 

This Reminds Me: Of regular lead-in Raising Hope. A slightly unconventional family bands together to raise a small child and many hijinks ensue because the adults are sometimes less mature than the child they are watching. Yes, the comparison is slim, but I have never understood the appeal of Raising Hope, and Ben & Kate made me feel just as confused. But I have been proven wrong before, and comedy is extremely subjective. Maybe I just don’t like shows about kids.

 

Other Aspects to Consider: We Bought a Zoo was a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed, largely in part due to the adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones. And yet I did not recognize her immediately in this pilot, largely because she was just kind of… there. If the show can capitalize on her adorability it may go somewhere.

 

The success of a show depends largely upon the likeability of its lead. Dakota Johnson as Kate Fox was not strong enough a lead to get me to root for her. In fact, I felt more drawn to the brash, cliché best friend BJ. The cutest moment of the pilot might have been when she was babysitting little Maddie and had put way too much makeup on her.

 

Remaining Questions: I find I do not care enough to ask questions about this show. That says it all, doesn’t it?

 

The Verdict: DNR. Frankly, the many ads made the show seemed rather insipid. The few jokes on display were not funny to begin with, so I had little hope that the full show would be worth watching. The full pilot surprised me with a few laughs, but the episode as a whole left me cold. And by the length of this review, you can just see that I find this show extremely uninspiring. I am sure many of you will disagree on me with this one, and I hope that you do, but this is not one of the shows that will make it onto my DVR rotation.

 

 

Now on to the other new show of the night, The Mindy Project

10 Comments
  1. There are a lot of these series showcasing dysfunctional families and Ben and Kate doesn’t seem to be of that sort. Watching the trailer or promo for this show gets people thinking that this is a funny show, but watching the whole episode changes all that. Modern Family is by far my number one choice in family comedies and drama.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up – I don’t think I’m going to bother giving this a shot. I’ve found that most sitcoms on TV aren’t even funny, and it looks like this show is a prime example of shows that shouldn’t have been ‘born’ to begin with.

    The kid looks really adorable though!

    • I’m keeping with a lot of the new shows just to see if anything gets better because there isn’t a lot I like out there that isn’t ending this season (The Office, Community) or rumored to end soon (Parks and Rec). But I agree, it takes a lot for a sitcom to be great, and not many have it these days.

  3. I think I’m just becoming cynical because a new crop of these sitcoms comes out every fall and about half of them get canceled and only a small fraction of them are actually good. I hope this show gets better and Mindy Kaling’s show catches on, because this is the last season of The Office and I don’t know what I’m going to watch to get my comedy fix when there’s no more Office.

  4. I expected way more of Ben and Kate based on what I had read about it before. I have to agree with you here. It doesn’t really bring much new to the table. I’d like to see more of it though, sometimes first episodes don’t really tell all.

  5. It stinks that Ben and Kate is no good. I like shows about dysfunctional families and immature adults because I find that relatable and I’ve dealt with those things. I was kind of looking forward to it. I’ll give it another chance and hope the next episode is better.

  6. I caught a preview of this months ago, and I have to say it sparked something in me. Made me fairly excited for what this show could be. It seems like it had something special and witty about it. Disappointing to see it had a bit of “all the good stuff’s in the trailer” syndrome 🙁

    • Well, I never did like the previews, so it’s possible you could still like the show. I have seen a lot of positive responses to it, mine was just not one of them. I still cannot pinpoint exactly what didn’t work for me. I will most likely watch online to see if it gets any better.

      • Yeah I probably won’t seek it out, but if it comes up on my netflix or something, I wont avoid it. I feel like there are actually no new shows I am interested in!

      • No, Scottyxx. Say it ain’t so! I’ve actually heard that ABC’s Last Resort (premiered last week) and Nashville (premiering October 10th) are the must sees this season. And if that doesn’t strike your fancy, then there’s always the new stuff on the CW. Of course we all watch enough TV that I don’t suppose we need new shows each year to add to the lineup.