Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)

How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)
Episode 6: How to Fix Up Your Ex
By: Carlos Uribe

How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) is a show about a single mother who moves in with her parents right after a divorce.

Spoilers Ahoy!

I'm not sure if you've heard but How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) has been canceled. The ratings weren't there and it's not like this show really deserved a second season but I still find myself disappointed. This might not have been a great show but it had the promise and potential of at least being a consistently good one. We've had a few good episodes of this show but I can't say this was one of them.

How to Fix Up Your Ex has a plot that could only exist on television or with people who aren't the brightest bulbs in the room. Polly's boyfriend from the last two episodes broke up with her because of her laughter but she quickly finds a new special friend with benefits. There really was no reason for the writers to do this but I guess that Reid Scott was only available for that scene. His replacement doesn't really have a personalities he's largely just there so that Natalie can see his mom making out with someone or so he can call Polly at the worst of times. It's not like her previous boyfriend had a personality as he was largely just known for his good looks. I'm not really invested into whether or not Polly is dating anyone and I certainly could care less if Julian is. How to Live with Your Parents remains a show that is at it's best when it's about parenting Natalie but it continues to be weak when it stretches from that. For instance, Polly decides that she's going to help hook Julian up with someone. Why? Natalie doesn't think it's fair for Polly to have a special friend while Julian is all alone. Polly also wants her ex-husband to be happy rather than alone and miserable. So basically this episode is all about Polly trying to hook up her ex-husband with a girl that's out of his league. I'm sorry but what? Is Polly really the kind of person who thinks this is a good idea? I thought she was supposed to be smart and realize that you don’t set up your exes. It's trying to fit a sit-com plot into a comedy where it doesn't really belong.

There is a point in the episode where Julian talks about how he would change his life if he could start dating the girl he's currently trying to impress. He'll clean up his act and get a degree. The person this offends is Polly. When Julian realizes he's hurting her feelings, he tries to make her feel better by stating that it's different with his new girl because she's more pretty. The annoying voice-over then comes and proclaims that Polly realizes this is probably why you don't try to set up your exes. No duh? The very premise behind this plot is so stupid and it completely hurts Polly's supposed intelligence when it takes her actually doing it to realize the emotional consequences of her actions. It doesn't matter if Polly is over Julian or not because it's just messy. She should have realized this but the plot required she be dumb. I'd also like to point out that I have no idea if the series is trying to push them together or not. The two don't share any chemistry so it's already difficult to buy that they were married in the first place. If the series wants to push a “will-they-won't-they” from the two then the producers should be disappointed because it completely fails. Julian might not be the most essential character on this show but he only works when he's trying to be a dad to Natalie. The only way I could see this working is if his relationship was actually affecting Natalie. Granted the show tried to do this but only in the beginning and very weakly. Gah, this was just a failure on just about every single level simply because of how stupid the premise behind the plot was. Oh, and it was also rarely funny.

While the main plot is going on there's also a sub-plot where Elaine turns out to be a kleptomaniac. She likes to take stuff without paying for it. She doesn't think it's a big deal until she learns about the example she's setting out. When Polly steals an iPad from the girl they're trying to set Julian up with. Elaine starts to realize that people take her suggestions seriously. When Natalie steals another kid's calculator, Elaine finally comes to terms that she's a role model. People look up to her. If she's stealing from stores then Natalie and Polly will think it's okay. So Elaine tries to make it all the better by returning a slinkie that she stole. Only this attempt backfires because she couldn't help but steal another item on their way out. I like how making Elaine a kleptomaniac managed to develop her a bit more while at the same time working Natalie into the plot. It made more sense even if it also asked the viewers to dismiss logic a little too much when the store doesn't even pretend to call the police on her. Oh well.

How to Fix Up Your Ex is an episode that had an immediate problem: the idea behind it. I guess it was a good idea when the writers came up with it but it failed to launch simply because this doesn't feel like a comedy where such a plot belongs. It's just too sit-commish and far removed from Natalie. The sub-plot with Elaine stealing things worked a bit better especially as it made the character aware of how her actions have consequences. Not because she gets arrested but because how it affects the people around her.

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