Last week, I asked some questions about whether NBC should concentrate on its smart comedy brand. This week, it looks like they’re doing exactly that. They’ve picked up another show from Dan Goor, the producer behind Parks and Recreation, of which I very much like what I’ve seen, though I have to watch more to be able to write about it the way I’d really like to. Goor’s new show is apparently a semi-wacky medical drama, which will fill a hole in NBC’s prime time programming—the network won’t doesn’t have a medical show despite the popularity of the drama, and the USA Network’s done a nice job of proving, via Royal Pains, that medical drama isn’t the only way to engage audiences. I’ll look forward to NBC finding another way to put lots of fast-talking people together in small rooms and long hallways.
I absolutely love my dear friend who I am being a bridesmaid for this spring, but I will admit I laughed until I cried and sent this trailer to my fellow bridesmaid as soon as I saw it:
This is such a day of “I’m getting older.” But it is exhausting to watch movies about weddings all the time that are always from the perspective of the bride, or the Desperate Bridesmaid Just Waiting To Have Her Faith In Love Rekindled. As I’m sure those of you who have been in friends’ weddings know, it’s not so much about looking for a fella’. It’s about bonding with your friend, about navigating the same-gender group of people you’ve been thrown together with. How you relate to other women or other men seems to be vastly, vastly more important than how you deal with a potential partner.
And I’m glad that this movie gets the raunch and weird emotions of all of this. Part of a wedding is bonding together as your friend moves off into another life stage, sometimes not at the same time that you are. There’s a lot of joy and tenderness in that, but also some ribbing and a lot of nostalgia. One thing I wrote about in my sports dialogue with Hampton last week is that women are perfectly capable of raunchy fun, and I should have emphasized that there is a way of female raunchiness that really has nothing to do with imitating men or finding a place among them. This movie, though it’s directed by a man, is written by women, and seems to get that.
Because I need something to do in the half hour in between the end of Community and the beginning of Bones on Thursdays, I’ve found myself watching Perfect Couples. I thought the first couple of episodes of the show were awful—two of the couples, an alcoholic dude-bro married to an insanely controlling wedding planner played by the distasteful Olivia Munn, and two wildly irresponsible and impulsive adolescents in grown-ups clothing, were so unpleasant that I joked on Twitter that the normal couple, played by the inexplicably winning Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods were clearly going to end up killing them as a way to make their marriage perfect.
I don’t know that I think the show is getting better. But I found last week’s episode unexpectedly smart and winning. Basically, Rex (played by Hayes MacArthur, who sounds like he should have won World War II, but mostly is a supporting actor in mediocre rom-coms) and Leigh (Munn) have set up a Man Cave so that Rex can bond with his two best friends. They aren’t really feeling reliving their college days in a forced-march kinda way (Leigh has hidden German porn in the couch so it’ll feel naughty). But one by one, the men and their wives make their way to the man cave, whether to hide the result of compulsive shopping, to dodge a new diet, and to find answers. And of course they all discover that they want to blow off steam, but can’t really do it the way they used to any more.
I think that’s actually a smart thing for a show to take on. Growing up’s a weird process, especially when your body starts reacting against you. What does it mean to have a wild night when the consequences are more severe, when the outlets for behaving irresponsibly are limited because, say, you’re married and you want to stay that way. If Perfect Couples can moderate its characters ridiculousness with some real human feeling (and a montage of Rex spending so much time gathering the things he needs to have an illicit dudely night while his wife is gone that he forgets to have fun was actually fairly funny), it might be a viable show.