Sundays are my day to get my freelance butt in gear; this week I had elected to write a piece on Fox’s comedy Ben and Kate for a web site I contribute to (Ask Miss A). The review was to be under the banner “Best Shows You’re Not Watching.” I’m googling an actor’s name to put in the review (200 words in at this point), and GASP! Fox cancelled the show on Friday. Review over. Life over.
I feel strangely powerless.
I found Ben and Kate one random Tuesday evening in late December 2012. My first thought – WOW! The lead guy’s crooked teeth – do they let that kind of stuff on TV anymore? And because I was so surprised to see a character on TV who didn’t have veneers, or InvisAlign, I kept watching, and it turned out I loved it. The 30-minute, “single-camera” comedy centered around the lives of twenty-something single-mom Kate (Dakota Johnson – YES! Melanie Griffith’s daughter) and her older, clueless brother Ben (improv-actor Nat Faxon) after he moves back home to San Diego to live with Kate and help her take care of her five-year-old daughter Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). For the first time in a long time, I had a TV show to call my own!
I tweeted. I DVR’d. I on-demanded. I googled. I did all the things my peers with their favorite shows do. I finally had a TV identity – a show that kept me relevant at the water cooler at work , that is…if we had a water cooler and if all my co-workers weren’t guys. The point is I would have had something to say in my hypothetical workplace, and that’s what matters.
Why did the show work? For me, it’s just fun to watch a show where you can tell the actors are having as much fun filming the show as you are watching it. There was an authenticity to it that couldn’t be feigned. It’s that and the feeling of community and willingness to fail – the bad jokes made the good ones even funnier – that I will miss. The show was cute and sarcastic and redeeming but also rough-around-the-edges. It was the underdog. Kind of like me, maybe.
So long Ben and Kate. Now I have to find your unfinished season 1 on dvd AND attempt to replace you. Because who are we without a favorite tv show?