Abby’s (“Book Club”)

Season 1, Episode 4
Date of airing: April 18, 2019 (NBC)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.525 million viewers, 1.0/2 in Households, 0.37/2 with Adults 18-49, 0.21 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.52 rating with Adults 25-54

What I realized about this show after four episodes is that it needs running jokes. “Not now, Bill!” could be one of the running jokes of the show, as it was actually a great joke in this episode, and it would make Bill’s character funny if he always happened to butt into conversations or situations, having his own opinion about everything, even though no one was asking about Bill’s opinion. According to me, characters in sitcoms need running jokes, and ABBY’S doesn’t have a single character with a running joke, and I’m almost sure that “Not now, Bill!” will be forgotten with the next episode, and the show will continue to dance around the potential of being a great sitcom and instead just remain being an average sitcom. The characters are nice, and every once in a while I’m chuckling about something, but it’s not like anyone gets hurt or emotionally distraught when NBC doesn’t continue with ABBY’S. Maybe that would give Natalie Morales the time to get cast in a more superior show, preferably on cable or streaming.

Bill shows off part of his magazine and book collection.

The episode was okay, though it proved that the writers were not at all interested in development. Emily could have been made a recurring character, and her romance with Fred, whose name I am now remembering after four episodes, could be an ongoing thing for a few episodes, just to tell the viewers that stuff happening in each episode do have a meaning for the characters involved in said stuff, but after the events from the previous episode were pretty much forgotten in this half hour and the show’s status quo was set back to the beginning, the characters became less interesting and so did the show. Which means Fred and Emily’s story became meaningless to me. Fred’s attempt at getting out there again and living a human life became meaningless, because he will most likely go back to his very own status quo of being an aging man at a backyard bar, liking to drink whiskey with his medium rare steak. Here is to hoping that Emily might indeed become a recurring character and prove that ABBY’S is not a proceduralized show. Here is to hoping that the writers were interested in developing the characters at least a little bit, and bring some of their home lives into Abby’s bar, simply for the sake of a narrative.

I could almost say the same about what Jimmy was going through, but that story was definitely blown up at the end, when Jimmy decided not to go forward with his crush, when he risked a look at her ex-boyfriend. It’s nice to know though that ABBY’S is a show going for a little bit of diversity here. A bisexual main character, a white man dating a black woman, and the writers giving the chance for two black people to date, with one of them being overweight. The show is clearly interested in breaking the norms of standard living for most of the viewers, which I applaud, but all those norm-breaking moments would have a bigger meaning, if they were permanent for the show and its characters, and they wouldn’t just be used for episodic stories to be told within 20 minutes, only to be forgotten about after. I mean, we’re four episodes in, and people who missed a quarter of the show might not even know that Abby is bisexual. Shouldn’t that be defining her character over more than just one episode?

A bet won is extra money in his pocket.

Best part of the episode: “Peacocking for Dummies.” I have no idea what that book is about, but I’m interested in reading it.
Worst part of the episode: All this effort to force Fred to leave his comfort zone and smell life for a day, and Abby is being “punished” by being victim of a prank — and the thing is, it wasn’t even a particularly hilarious storyline. Certainly not one of the moments I chuckled to.
Weirdest part of the episode: Jimmy putting his invisible ball in Erica’s hand and saying that it’s in her court now is kind of creepy when you think of it. But maybe it’s just me — the white guy suffering from depression who hasn’t had a working relationship with anyone ever, and who would definitely run away screaming when the ball is being put in my court this way.
Player of the episode: Whoever sold Bill those dating books is probably rich now. One desperate Bill leads to money for one happy book retailer.

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