TV Review: About a Boy, Series Premiere

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The About a Boy pilot was not as bad as I expected it to be. But it wasn’t exactly good, either. To start, I’m completely flabbergasted by how the TV pilot adaptation of a 300 page book could feel so incredibly rushed. Isn’t there a lot of material there that needs to be stretched now that it’s a TV show, rather than condensed?

Photo Credit: John Russo/NBC
Photo Credit: John Russo/NBC

This was basically 22 rushed minutes of Will (David Walton) and Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) becoming best friends, which was completely unnecessary. It would have been much more interesting to watch their personalities form, and see at the very end of the episode that they were maybe starting to get along. Though who knows – With a pilot like this they’ll probably backtrack in the second episode and pretend their beautiful friendship never even happened.

There is some good, though. The cast’s chemistry in particular made the entire episode watchable despite very little actual comedic moments and a plot that felt completely pointless. I’ve never seen Stockham before (and let’s face it – he’s certainly no Nicholas Hoult), but I always love Walton, Minnie Driver, and Leslie Bibb, so it’s really no surprise they all won me over.

However, the female characterization on the show is a hot pile of rotting garbage. Walton gets to play Will as cool, calm, apathetic, and with the knowledge to fix the all problems of those around him if he actually feels like rising to the occasion. And how easy it must be for him, when he’s surrounded by overly emotional women who hate the smell of meat, put the needs of their children over everything else, and are desperate to have sex with him. The dialogue left a lot to be desired, particularly the scene where there was a huge conflict. Both women just sort of yelled “We’re done,” and left.

Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC
Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC

…Really, Jason Katims?? That’s what you’ve got for me?? I expected more from the creator of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. But then again, Katims hasn’t really done comedy before, has he? Now that I think about it… why even is this a comedy? I of course use the term comedy only in the sense that it’s the genre About a Boy is trying to fit into. I did not find the episode to be particularly comedic. And worse, in trying to be a comedy, it’s cut out all the good juicy character development that I know Jason Katims is capable of.

Let me be clear. I’m by no means saying that comedies shouldn’t have character development. The problem is that having a creator who is not used to writing comedy might see it that way, and that’s what seems to have happened here. I really expected better and I hope the show does improve.

This of course brings me to my next point, which is that even if it does improve I don’t think this show could ever have a life. It’s based off a book and movie, both of which have a fan base, and it’s trying to be something very different than what those fans expect. The disconnect from expectations to reality could very well automaticallty make About a Boy a flop. I just sincerely feel that nobody wants to watch this. Sorry not sorry.

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