I don't expect anyone to read a multi-paragraph exploration of the differences between the shows in an attempt to resolve the dilemma. Ben and Kate's a lovable show. The writing team includes Dave Feeney of Daves of Thunder podcast fame, as well as two former Community producers. I'm willing to forget Feeny's years of service on According To Jim due to the comedic gold he and Dameshek came up with their podcast, none finer than the 'romance' between Feeney and Blaster Girl. Dana Fox's first two scripts showed a real knack for balancing sweet and funny, a sense of humor I appreciate and identify with and even wrote in my pre-teen years. The series is infectious. I watch the episodes, and I laugh. Rarely do sitcoms cause me to laugh anymore. Laughter is important. Strangely, though, I don't want to write about Ben and Kate weekly, because of my enjoyment of the show. Like Community, Ben & Kate is a show I want to chime in on every couple of months. Cool? Cool.
-I'm glad the second episode is as enjoyable as the first episode. The best part was the lack of a romantic interest for Kate. The onslaught of disposable loves-of-main-character's-life in fall pilots was an epidemic, my friends and well-wishers, especially in sitcoms. Characters were tested by their reaction to someone leaving them or cheating on them or just plain not loving them. Kate's concerned about her daughter's education in #102. She lied to the school about the location of her house for district reasons. Kate and Ben, and their friends, need to hide the truth from the Board to keep Maddie in school. The process of hiding the truth is very sweet. The foursome of adults love and support each other, even Tommy's parents are in on the scheme, ready and willing to help out Kate the minute she walks through their door and says, 'This is it; I need help."
-Ben is an awesomely funny character. The show would be 75% less enjoyable without Ben. Faxon's probably too talented; an Academy-award winning screenwriter and a terrific comedic actor. Faxon and Jim Rash need to share their talent with all of the aspiring screenwriters and/or actresses struggling to get their break in the City of Angels. Ben's written so naturally. A highlight of the episode is his meeting with an officer he's acquaintances with. The officer and Ben shoot the breeze like anybody else who ran into an acquaintance on the face. Faxon's delivery of every line makes me laugh. The dude doesn't need a punch line to crack the audience laugh. Basically, every action of his is funny because of Faxon's body language, inflections, and delivery. I cracked up the most when he went along with the 'Tommy's twin brother died in a boat' accident lie because of the three elements I listed a sentence before.
-"Bad Cop/Bad Cop" didn't ignore the crucial elements of the "Pilot." Ben wants the best for Kate and Maddie, but he still manages to get both in trouble because of his love for them. Kate gets into her trouble after Ben bonds with the principal, and because he made Maddie late for school every day of the previous week. Kate learns to be courageous through the ordeal, to experience grace under fire, and she emerges triumphantly from the principal's office at the end of the episode after convincing him to let Maddie stay in the school. Ben finds the will-power to say no to his niece. Maddie rolls with it and eases Ben's fear that she would like him less because he said no. Ben and Kate strikes a nice balance between The Story and the story.
-BJ shined in "Bad Cop/Bad Cop." Tommy and his parents were great. Tommy was great when he told his tennis class about Ben's sister who he loves and thinks is beautiful. Dana Fox knew what she wanted her show to be; there seems to be zero growing pains, and it's just a joy to watch. I'll check back in on Ben and Kate in November.
Now watch me act below in the YouTube clip.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK