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Better With You (Wednesdays 8:30/7:30 Central)

ABC

Sep 22, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Better With You comes with lofty pedigree. Produced by Friends producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan and executive producer Greg Malins (How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Will & Grace), the half-hour romantic comedy looks good on paper. Three couples in the same family at different stages in their relationships. Parents Vicky (Debra Jo Rupp, That ’70s Show) and Joel (Kurt Fuller) have been married for 35 years and are so far along in their lives together, it makes one never want to reach that stage. Attorney Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) and hotel manager Ben (Josh Cooke) are in a committed, familiar, comfortable nine-year relationship and aren’t planning on getting married. Although when Maddie keeps repeating, “It’s a valid life choice,” one starts wondering whether she has convinced herself yet. Paperless web invite creator (and Maddie’s sister) Mia (Joanna Garcia, Privileged, Reba) and avant-garde heavy metal band member Casey (Jake Lacy) met seven-and-a-half weeks ago and are engaged and pregnant. The sisters are the weak link on this show. Maddie is overly high-strung and uptight. Just watching her tenses you up. Mia is excessively flighty and shriek-y. Listening to her makes you want to plug your ears.

On the other side, Vicky is on point with her comic timing, her been-there-done-that facial expressions, and her deadpan delivery. The sisters’ men almost make up for their partners. Casey is dopey, and also flighty, but in a much more believable, regular dude kind of way. Ben is straight-laced and also uptight, but after spending some time with Casey, he loosens right up, begging the question, is Maddie the one making him so uptight? Joel is the perfect foil for Vicky, giving as good as he receives. Better With You has a hiccup-y start, but tone down the shrieks and unbutton the tightness and you could have a well-balanced show here. (www.abc.go.com/betterwithyou)

Author rating: 5/10

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