Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ben and Kate

Ben and Kate
Episode 13: Bake-Off
By: Carlos Uribe

Ben and Kate is a show about a responsible single mother and her carefree older brother.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Kate leads an insane life. She’s a little bit crazy herself but her brother and friends are truly what make her life be as crazy as it is. She wouldn’t have it any other way as she not only loves them but her own life as well.  That is why Will broke up with her. This comes up this episode when Will invites Kate over to a gather at his house so that it’s not more awkward between them. This sort-of backfires on him when Kate asks out a baker at the party. Will isn’t happy with his because he really does miss Kate and he wants her back. There is a huge difference between Will and the baker. Will isn’t willing to accept Kate’s life. He might be in love with the girl but he doesn’t want the craziness that surrounds it. Since that craziness is her life, the two simply can’t be together.  This is in direct comparison to the baker who is perfectly willing to accept Kate and the crazy as well.  This difference gets in the way of Will being able to win Kate back as she considers actually exploring a relationship with the baker. The main plot is pretty good simply because it’s able to really visualize the conflict between Kate and Will in a manner that it couldn’t before. It not only allows the opportunity for Will to come back at any time but it helps to prevent the major obstacle from them getting back together. It’s true the obstacle and opportunity was hinted at when they broke up but this episode established it in more clear terms.  It did this because it showed Will still has feelings for her even if he can’t get back with her.

Ben is trying to make his business idea come to life. It seems like it’s all headed on the right track as he’s gotten a CEO and some firm to help him make Rail Mall/Rail Meal into a reality. The obstacle is obvious but it’s a necessary one. Ben is a visionary but it makes sense that he would have trouble with the actual business community. When they try to change his plan so that all the service does is delivering groceries, Ben leaves them to try and make it on his own. It isn’t until Ben comes up with an actual idea to make his idea feasible that he proves he’s essential to Rail Meal and explains why he won’t just be run out of the company. He’s able to prove that he’s integral to his CEO lover as she gets back on board with his idea. So what is this idea? Rail Meal doesn’t just deliver food but it presents the people with suggestions based on their restaurant choice to ensure people don’t’ get stuck in some rut. It makes perfect sense and gives people a reason to use Rail Meal beyond just going to the same five delivery places. Making him actually essential to this new business was necessary to justify his continued presence at the meetings.

The two plots with the titular protagonists were strong and funny but it was B.J. who stole the show. When a commercial producer happens to see B.J. and Maddie together, she offers the two of them the chance to audition for a mother-daughter commercial. B.J. pretends to be Maddie’s mother and she tries to prepare her fake daughter for the audition. One of the best parts of the episode is that one of Kate’s conditions on approving this is that B.J. actually acts like a mother to Maddie. B.J.’s inability to be motherly is simply one of the funniest things this show has done. It ends when Maddie doesn’t get in but B.J. does. B.J. decides that she’ll spare Maddie’s feelings by telling her the opposite and the two leave without the role. It’s a nice and sweet moment that continues to show the character’s growth to actually being a paternal figure in Maddie’s life.

Bake-Off is a funny episode of Ben and Kate that is pretty good. It allows Will to remain in Kate’s sphere without actually bringing him into it. Kate herself is able to find a guy who seems like her life which might complicate things further in future episodes. Ben ensures that he remains the central figure in his business. Finally, B.J. is able to show character growth when she does act to spare Maddie her feelings and turning down an opportunity to be famous herself.

Other Notes:

Ben and Kate have been pulled from the schedule. FOX promises that the show will return at a later date. This means no episodes for a long while; my theory is that this will air in the summer with The Goodwin Games.

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