If you're a die-hard fan of the CBS sitcom 'Friends with Better Lives,' this review will not be to your liking. If, however, you have the slightest hint of good taste, decency, or maturity, please feel free to read on, as the show itself has none.
I know that sometimes critics get a bad rap for taking pot shots at shows which deserve better treatment, but in this case, there can be no insult too great for FWBL. I have suffered through this show so that you don't have to.
The program in question had very big shoes to fill, taking over the time slot previously occupied by the nine-year hit 'How I Met Your Mother.' This in itself is a big hurdle for any show, as HIMYM drew the audience in with its mix of warmth, depth, and vulnerability, contrasted against the shallow cynicism of the cast's living stereotype, Barney Stinson. What makes FWBL so very terrible is that rather than build on HIMYM's dynamic, the producers decided to find writers who think exactly like the fictional Stinson and put them in charge of scripts. I actually found myself wondering if this program was written by a trio of 18-year-old frat boys as a way to pay for their next kegger; it's that shallow.
Now, yes, shallow can be good. Reruns of USA's 'Psych' continues to make me laugh, despite it being 40 minutes of an overgrown adolescent avoiding any serious moments, while solving murders at the same time. The difference is that FWBL doesn't vary their subject, approach, or timing at all. It's just 20 painful minutes of crude, clumsy, obvious, predictable sex jokes and innuendo. There is no other subject, not even a hint of sophistication, and the only thing holding them back from being even cruder is FCC regulations. More one-note than a capella rap, it's insipid, pointless drivel that makes you feel your brain cells dying.
Another problem is there's absolutely no character development of any sort. Rather than any kind of warmth, vulnerability, or sincerity, FWBL comes across as cold, cynical, and altogether empty. The level of self-involvement with these people makes it hard to believe that they even know the meaning of the word 'friendship,' let alone have any practical experience with it. It's like none of them matured past the age of 16. I don't know about you, but if I wanted to be treated to an endless stream of narcissism and sarcasm, I'd have studied to be a high school teacher.
The words abysmal, horrid, abject failure, and steaming trash heap are extreme understatements when describing 'Friends with Better Lives.' It's an embarrassment to CBS, to television, and to the art of comedy. It's very possible that it may be secretly funded by the government as a new way to torture inmates at Guantanamo Bay, it's so bad. This is a must-avoid program in the strictest sense possible.
Don't believe me? See this disaster for yourself: