Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Love Monkey worth watching again

Wherein I find enough to like about Love Monkey

As said earlier, I expressed an interest in Love Monkey. It exceeded my expectations. I could easily see this falling off the cliff into cloying sentimentality or annoying cliches, but for a premier it did a decent job of setting up the premise and the characters.

Thomas Cavanagh (Ed) plays Tom, an A&R guy for a big time record company also dating the "perfect" woman--i.e., one not interested in marriage. When he gives a rousing speech explaining they should be about good music, not money, he is fired. When his girlfriend reveals an interest in permanence, he is dumped. Not a bad start, establish the character by turning his world upside down and we'll learn who he is by how he later adapts.

The casts of friends is also reasonably sketched out. He has three main male friends and we'll often see the four of them drinking at the bar or playing playground basketball discussing male/female differences. Two of the friends are single and talk a big game. The third, played by a very old looking Jason Priestly, is happily married to Tom's sister (The sister is pregnant and here I must mention the baby shower - they had a bartender). One of the closing teasers revealed that one of the friends, the ex-ball player is gay. No one knows this.

Probably my favorite early character is Judy Greer's Brandy. She's Tom's best girl friend, but not a girlfriend. She's Tom's voice of reason. She's also the unrequited love interest that is practically a requirement in this type of series. Hinted at, but never expressed, is that she's probably in love with Tom and is waiting for Tom to grow up and realize he's also in love with his best friend. The nice thing is, the two of them work well together so this wouldn't be an annoying pairing. I'm thinking Brandy could find someone else and this will wake Tom up to his real interest. Does this sound too much like what Ed was doing, or is it a generic enough of a concept?

I enjoyed the writing, the dialog was witty and not excessively forced, and it had pleasant moments when a cheap laugh would've been easier.

One criticism is that I think it relies too much on the narrator track. This trick has become popular with shows and, frankly, only little Opie Cunningham with Arrested Development has done it justice.

Final thought on the first Love Monkey: I'll watch it again.


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