Is it possible to follow your dreams and still be able to cover the rent each month? What happens when you come awfully close to blowing the best opportunity you’ve had in a long time? That’s part of the premise behind ABC Family’s new show “Young & Hungry,” which showed how one character did almost lose it all after one bad decision that could come back to haunt them. Sure, the show’s plot might seem a little familiar at times, but its overall charm and light tone make it worth watching anyways.
“Young & Hungry” followed Gabi Diamond (Emily Osment) who was a blogger that was passionate about food. She loved to cook and claimed that she even had a sixth sense about knowing what type of food someone wanted. Unfortunately, this skill didn’t always translate into a successful career which constantly left her strapped for cash. Gabi was eager for a decent job that paid well so that she wouldn’t get thrown out on the street with her equally financially troubled roommate Sofia Rodriguez (Aimee Carrero). Sofia was looking to climb up the corporate ladder at her job, but she was only tasked with menial office jobs, such as getting coffee for all of the higher ups. Luckily, Gabi’s luck might be turning when she gets the opportunity to be interviewed to be the personal chef of a wealthy businessman named Josh Kaminski (Jonathan Sadowski). If only she could get past his disapproving employee Elliot Park (Rex Lee), he didn’t believe that Gabi had the skills to last in the position. It also didn’t help that Elliot had a crush on another applicant and preferred him in the position. She was able to get the job by cooking her soon-to-be new boss a grilled cheese sandwich that he instantly loved. All Gabi had to do was cook an amazing dinner to help guarantee that Josh’s girlfriend would accept his marriage proposal. She succeeded for the most part, except that the girlfriend didn’t show and ended up dumping him over the phone. In an effort to cheer him up, she spends some time with eating the food that she prepared. What she didn’t plan on was spending the night with her boss and regretting it in the morning. Gabi feared that she may have lost her dream job and ability to help pay the rent. With a little help from Josh’s housekeeper Yolanda (Kym Whitley), she was able to keep her job, but she was forced to cover up her one night stand with the boss when Josh’s ex decided to come back into the picture. Will Josh be able to make his relationship work or will his night with Gabi ruin things for good?
In terms of questions, the show’s premiere didn’t pose that many, except that the idea of Gabi’s professional misstep with her boss was taken too lightly at times. The idea of an employee sleeping with their boss wasn’t an uncommon story, but the fact that there were no consequences to either party was the more shocking part. Hopefully, this oversight will be remedied in future episodes to cause more problems for everyone involved down the line. The show’s premiere also seemed to speed up the workplace situation by throwing two very different characters to simply see what comedic mayhem could occur. The show will also need to examine what led both Osment’s Gabi and Sadowski’s Josh to end up crossing paths when in reality the likelihood would a lot smaller than many would think. Viewers would need to get a chance to examine both characters’ worlds outside of Josh’s place to find a way to root for them. It also seemed that the show was trying to not so subtly push the idea that Josh and Gabi were destined to be together before audiences got a chance to finish the first episode. The characters had a much more comfortable than Josh did with his neurotic girlfriend who was truly bad for his sanity and his emotional health. Fingers crossed that Josh’s girlfriend won’t be in the picture for too long because she was a distraction that viewers didn’t need so early in the season. It would also to help better integrate the supporting characters into Josh and Gabi’s world a little better. Even though Whitley and Lee had a reason to be there, their characters had little to do in the premiere besides offer snarky comments and the occasional bit of advice. That should likely change as the season progressed. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
As for breakout performances, Osment and Sadowski led the pack since their characters were the driving force in the premiere. Osment’s Gabi proved to be the perfect of perkiness and attitude wrapped in charm. She turned the character into a modern day Lucille Ball type that cute and zany at the same time without even trying, but she also managed to make Gabi likable at the same time. That’s so small feat, especially when the character accidentally slept with her boss and was forced to hide in a closet the next morning. She had a believable rapport with Sadowski and Whitley for different reasons. Sadowski’s Josh allowed Osment’s Gabi to be goofy and responsible sometimes in the same scene as she tried to comfort her boss after his break-up. With Whitley, Osment was able to reign in Gabi as she was bluntly told by Yolanda that she messed up big time. Sadowski, on the other hand, had the more challenging task of playing the likable rich guy who was clueless about his personal life. He embodied Josh with the right amount of optimism and naivety as he decided to propose to a girl who carried too much personal and emotional baggage for anyone to handle. Sadowski made viewers sympathize with the character, even though they knew that he was making a very big mistake. Osment and Sadowski both shared the strongest scene from the premiere when the characters were having dinner together and getting to know each other at the same time. Viewers were able to catch a glimpse of what made these characters tick. There need to be more scenes like this to keep viewers interested and invested in the characters as well.
"Young & Hungry" premiered on June 25th and air Wednesdays at 8:00 PM on ABC Family.
Verdict: The show’s charming premise and Osment’s strong comedic presence could have staying power if the writers played their cards right.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)