ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE
Status: Premiering Monday, September 21st @ 8:30pm on CBS
You know when you're watching a traditional sitcom and you're having a totally harmless good time with the jokes flying left and right and then something comes along and stops you in your tracks? That was my experience with Accidentally on Purpose.
The first nine minutes were a lot of fun. I actually enjoyed Jenna Elfman (which is so not an easy thing on my part to admit) and the cast of characters was entertaining, even if I was confused that all three of the lead women on the show were white blondes (I guess Ashley Jensen's Scottish background helps separate them slightly). Jon Foster was amusing.
And then the first act out came. I was dreading it because you could tell (a country mile away) what was coming even though I didn't really know what the series premise was. And I cringed when Jenna's character, Billie, announced her pregnancy.
And my enjoyment of Accidentally on Purpose stopped right there.
Part of it is my fault. I read all of the drama scripts and don't, for the most part, even look at the comedy loglines to know what any given pilot is about. But, again, you could tell this "twist" was coming.
Here's my problem (well, here are several of my problems) and why I won't be watching when this premieres in a couple weeks.
Billie has a job: she is a movie critic, and rising star in that world (so, she's an opportunity for writers to throw in pop culture references while never actually showing her work). Then the pregnancy comes and there's really never a thought given to abortion (just like Lynette towards the end of this season of Desperate Housewives). I'm not advocating that all women should get abortions always, but when you're in a situation like this... why is the question not asked? I know... too risque for broadcast TV now (hell, even Family Guy couldn't get its abortion episode aired).
Billie is presented as a career woman (despite that fact that she was carrying on a longterm relationship with her boss, Grant Show, that ended and sent her into a mindset where she would seek out a one night stand with a young man like Jon's character Zack... way to be a strong, independent woman, Billie). Zack and his friends (in their 20s) are presented in a (slacking, freeloading, goofball) way that feels, honestly, as it the show is only trying to speak to 50+ year-olds. I dislike that my generation is presented as such (even if, yes, there are certainly 20somethings like this). It's cynical and it talks down to me in a way that I feel How I Met Your Mother viewers won't respond to at all. The pilot does a decent job filling out Zack's character, but the other guys are just caricatures.
And so the last 14 minutes of the pilot are, of course, about Billie and Zack's relationship (such as they have one). He even moves in with her (for a platonic relationship... sure, that'll keep). Which is just weird, if you ask me. Too soon! It's not like the baby is even remotely close to being born yet.
Speaking of... the baby. Babies ruin sitcoms. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
I think I would have loved this pilot if the show had been about this late-30s woman who, after breaking up with a longterm boyfriend, started a relationship with a much younger man, expecting it to be a one night stand and having it develop into something more. But with that something more being a baby right off the bat... nope.