Season 1, Episode 6
Date of airing: May 2, 2019 (NBC)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.489 million viewers, 1.0/2 in Households, 0.4/2 with Adults 18-49, 0.2/1 with Adults 18-34, 0.5/2 with Adults 25-54
I have watched this episode with the knowledge in mind that NBC has cancelled the show and it won’t return for another season. What I’m essentially watching right now is a lame duck television show, and I am seriously wondering right now if it can be called as such. Should you expect anything from a show you’re watching for the first time, but has been cancelled? Should you even be allowed to be emotionally invested in the characters whose lives you won’t be able to follow in a few weeks? Why bothering filling your head with a show that won’t be alive for longer than when your next bowel movement arrives?
At this point I could easily give up ABBY’S, but I kind of live a life of a person who doesn’t want to leave things half-assed and unfinished (except when it comes to writing screenplays, then I always give up ten pages in, thanks to my impatience), and I am still interested enough in what Natalie Morales has been doing in the show to at least go with it all the way and see whether or not the writers have managed to find the tone of the show right before its cancellation, or if ABBY’S was all about random stories set in an outdoor bar, with characters who never develop or learn anything out of the mistakes they do or lessons they experience, let alone feel like they are part of a narrative. Well, there are still seven episodes left — it might be enough to prove that the show could have been more, enough to prove that the writers could have had a success in their hands from the beginning, if they wouldn’t have wasted time with generic sitcom storytelling during the first half of the season.
This episode wasn’t special either, although I do appreciate that it delivered a two-story structure. James’s promotion was the A plot, which unfortunately was neither funny nor was James an interesting drunk who was about ten shots into tequila (I was actually asking myself if he was in fact drunk), and Fred and Bill’s multi-day conversation about trees that showed Bill not to get sucked into conversations he doesn’t wanna have was an intriguing B plot, showcasing what is really the problem with humans, who just want to be normal humans who say “Hey, how are you?” and “Nice to see you.” or “What’s up, how’s your day?”, but aren’t really expecting an answer with a back story attached to it in return. Bill’s story wasn’t so much a story about a guy in a bar, but a simple story about life, making a light joke on people who talk too much and answer rhetorical questions — entertaining enough to make me chuckle every once in a while, but not a story that showed off the comedy skills of both the cast and the writers of this little outdoor multi-camera sitcom.
In a way, the episode had to be carried by James’s plot, but even the writers must have realized that it wasn’t working well, hence the creation of a neighborly character, who finally expanded the world of ABBY’S just for a tiny bit, proving that Abby has neighbors who might have a bit of a problem with the backyard bar. Not only was I happy that the story finally came to be after six episodes, but I approved of the writers pushing James into the story at the end and letting him deal with Richard, just so James’s confidence problems were indeed a problem for the character, and all he needed was a push to be more open with himself. It’s actually a great story for a sitcom, and while it did help to let James shine in a good light, it didn’t help make the sitcom both funny and more interesting in the process.
Best part of the episode: “Gettysburg Undressed,” the new political erotic thriller from Richard the neighbor is gonna be out on paperback soon, hopefully. You tend to notice when the show fires off great jokes (it’s when the audience laughs the loudest), and this one certainly is on the same level as last episode’s Wesley Snipes tax joke.
Worst part of the episode: Why was Richard not gay? He came in like he owned the place, he talked like he just came out of a gay night club, and he was drinking like he was ready to go par-tay at the LGBT pride tour. But then Richard had to talk about his wife. I am so freaking disappointed.
Weirdest part of the episode: If I would know someone like Fred, executing the Irish goodbye, then coming back a day later to continue the conversation, I would be confused as hell. It’s probably a good thing Bill is weird as well, otherwise there might have been an issue between two bar patrons.
Player of the episode: Bill really prepared to be a patron slash co-owner of this bar. He mentioned he was having note cards, trying to remember everyone and every definition of whatever weird word Abby and her friends were throwing out. Bill is essentially writing the guide to Abby’s bar, and for that he deserves an advance.