Fox’s “Ben and Kate” surprisingly funny
“Ben and Kate.” Where do I even begin? How about: I am so excited for this show!
In all honesty, I was hesitant to watch the pilot; I was afraid it would be a laugh-less, disappointing 22 minutes. The show’s outward appearance doesn’t appear very promising. The plot isn’t anything special — in fact it is quite similar to another Fox comedy called “Raising Hope” — a young, single parent attempts to raise a child with the help of a kooky family. Been there, done that. I didn’t recognize very many cast members either, so I had no point of reference. And the show seemed too family-friendly to contain any real comedy worth laughing about. But I decided to give it a try, despite all of its perceived flaws. Let’s just say, I am grateful I did.
Before I explain its appeal, let me give you the lowdown. Ben and Kate Fox (Nate Faxon and Dakota Johnson) are a brother-sister pair who made it through their childhood having raised each other in a broken home. Kate had to grow up too fast when she got pregnant in college and dropped out before graduation to raise her daughter Maddie Fox (an adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones.)
Ben, on the other hand, never stopped being a child. The show starts with Ben coming back to town hoping to crash an ex-girl friend’s wedding. Kate is a young mother trying to balance work, a child, and dating. Ben, seeing is sister failing to live her life to its absolute fullest, offers to move in and help raise his niece.
The cast is strong. Tommy and BJ (Echo Kellum and Lucy Punch), Kate and Ben’s friends, are added to the mix, serving as extra comic relief to the existing comedy. The jokes and dialogue are average but the laughter comes from the delivery. The cast is funny and ridiculous and work well together.
The show has the dynamic of “Raising Hope,” the humor of “New Girl” and the ridiculous characters of “Psych.”
“Written and executive produced by Dana Fox (New Girl), who left a room full of hard-to-please critics roaring with laughter during the recent TCA press tour, the series is based on her real-life brother — so the stories are endless,” said Tim Goodman, explaining the show’s source of inspiration in his article for the Hollywood Reporter.
I sure hope the stories are endless because this show needs to stay for a long time. It’s funny; it’s not perfect, but it’s funny and if it’s anything like Dana Fox’s past work (“New Girl”), then it will probably only get funnier as the season goes on. But while it is worth watching and is getting great reviews, very little people are watching it.
“The Network ordered… six more [episodes] of “Ben.” Those are considered two full-season orders for both Tuesday comedies… The premiere episode earned a 2.1 [star] rating in [the] 18-49 [age group] and 4.2 million [viewers]. It went down to 1.6 [stars] and 3.2 million [viewers] the following week,” said CNN’s Lynette Rice.
The show is really cute. It has a lot of feel-good, brother-sister moments to smile about and a lot of sticky situations to laugh about. This show needs to stay so we can see where it is headed. Watch “Ben and Kate” Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on Fox.