By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 0 Comments
A reader said the other day that if I’m taking requests, I should try to explain “why the Internet seems so fascinated with Ben & Kate, a show I find entirely unobjectionable but also very weird to get obsessed with.” Well, I am taking requests, so here goes.
I’m not obsessed with Ben & Kate myself, but I do like it, while understanding that it’s not long for this world. It’s produced by the same powerful Fox executive, Peter Chernin, who does New Girl (and Terra Nova, and Touch, and Allen Gregory; his track record is what we call “mixed”), and has many things in common with that show, having been picked up at a moment when it looked like New Girl was going to be a huge breakout hit rather than the smaller hit it is. Both shows are heavily influenced by indie comedy films; both were built around young movie actresses with a mix of mainstream and indie cred (Abby Elliott, the original lead of Ben & Kate, was dropped and replaced with Dakota Johnson, who was clearly in line to be the next Zooey Deschanel). That in itself may be one answer to why Ben & Kate has acquired a certain following; people like New Girl online, and this show is more like New Girl than any other show on the night.
But still, why did people get interested in Ben & Kate more than in all the other indie-influenced comedies that came out this year – more than The Mindy Project, which had much more publicity, and more than Go On, which is actually popular? I don’t know for sure, but here are a few reasons that come to mind.
1. A type of cast we haven’t seen before. Most comedies at the moment are based around some pretty familiar casting templates. Most typically, almost everyone is young and cute (New Girl, Guys With Kids, Happy Endings). Then you have the handsome but jaded hero surrounded by an appropriate mix of pretty people and quirky character Continue…