Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: Manhattan Love Story, ABC, Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c
The Pedigree: Manhattan Love Story was written and created by Jeff Lowell (Two and a Half Men), who executive produces with Michael Fresco (Raising Hope), Rachel Kaplan and Peter Traugott (Do No Harm), and Robin Schwartz (Tucker). Fresco directed the pilot.
The Cast & How You Know Them: The show stars Analeigh Tipton (Hung), Jake McDorman (Greek), Nicolas Wright (Accidentally on Purpose), Chloe Wepper (Criminal Minds), and Kurt Fuller (Psych).
The Premise: Manhattan Love Story is a romantic comedy in which the audience hears the inner thoughts of both sides of the central couple.
What Works: The leads are fine, I think — it’s hard to tell with such bad writing. The least bad parts are set in the workplace, as Tipton’s character copes with new job anxieties and deals with coworkers she dislikes (see Favorite Line below); that bit made me wish the show centered on her workplace or even on her adjustment to her new job and to New York in general, rather than on the relationship.
What Doesn’t: Pretty much everything. If you’re going to build a show around hearing the protagonists’ thoughts, you’d like said thoughts should make at least one of said protagonists likeable or at least sympathetic, right? Apparently not. Much of the “humor” rests on tired gender stereotypes — he’s thinking about breasts! She’s thinking about purses! Isn’t this hilarious? And a small quibble, but: why is she so bad with her phone? Because nothing is funnier than how girls can’t understand the most common technology?
Our Favorite Line: “I hate you both, I hate you both, I hate you both, and — smile!”
You Might Like This if … yeah, I’ve got nothing. If you’re really fascinated by the inner monologue angle, I guess, or if you really like one of the actors involved. Because even if you’re in the market for a new romantic comedy, there are better options — on this network, even — and the show has nothing else to set itself apart in a good way, except maybe some New Yorky stuff that will make you want to turn it off and go watch You’ve Got Mail.
If You’re Interested: Catch up on the pilot on the ABC site, then set your TiVo for Tuesday at 8:30/7:30c.
(Photo courtesy of ABC.)