Season 1, Episode 7
Date of airing: May 9, 2019 (NBC)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.402 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
Now that I know NBC has cancelled the show and it won’t return for another season (which was not at all a surprise, to be honest), I am starting to have fun with the show and I am actually starting to laugh a little more. Maybe it’s because I have gotten used to the soft comedy of the show, or maybe it’s because the writers have slowly gotten the handle of writing for their cast members — maybe they even started to understand the characters a little more. After all, there was a back story with Fred, when it became clear that the old man has been in Abby’s life for almost her entire life (does that mean they have been neighbors since her childhood?). There was another instance of a daddy issue theme in the show, and this time Fred was seen as Abby’s father figure, which could have meant interesting things for future episodes, but alas, now we will never see those episodes. I’m not sad, but now that ABBY’S is about to get just a tad bit better, I am a little disappointed.
Of course, Fred’s funky day beginning with the notion that he was being fungible, and that there might be a chance he is becoming a little less useful with each day he grows older, because millennials are about to take over and Fred is just going to die like he was never good for anything. It’s actually an interesting character arc, especially when it turns out Fred might not have been the most greatest handyman around, but he was a father figure not just to Abby, but maybe the whole bar. I would have loved it when Fred had come to realize that, see his value in being the patriarch of the bar (and who knows, maybe that could have been more meaningful to him than being the free-to-use handyman around the house), but I guess ABBY’S isn’t a show that goes all in with character arcs, let alone emotional moments between characters. This is still a multi-camera sitcom recorded live in front of an outdoor audience after all, so there might be no time or interest in getting deep into character-related stuff. It would have been funny though if the show had, and then it would have been renewed for another season. Well, chances missed, I guess.
In the meantime, the show continues to build something of a mythology around the bar, giving it a history, making me wonder if any of it is even real and if the writers would have remembered all of it in a later season, if it had happened. The wheel of fortune was in the previous episode, something about Skip was in another episode, and Bill even mentioned once he was reading up on the bar, to learn what everything the characters say actually means, but this episode took the cake and freaking ate it in one whole bite, when the token was introduced. Were those “mythology” elements written down by the writers in a bible of sorts, just so they were able to remember what has been used before and what could be reused? All of those funny bar moments look like plot devices right now, established in an episode to be useful for a few minutes (like Abby’s bisexuality), but then forgotten when the next episode comes around. I once said already that the show has a huge problem with a missing narrative, which might just be one of the reasons the show never caught on with the viewers, never became a word-to-mouth product on television (like EMPIRE and maybe even the Bachelor franchise), and fizzled through the ratings like it was a worker bee in a sea full of busy bees.
Best part of the episode: I think I started seeing something in Rosie and James hanging out. Is there a love story hiding behind their twosome, and was this episode just the start of a wonderful relationship? In fact, I am surprised that Fred and Beth never hooked up (maybe that would have been a second-season premise), but I got the feeling the writers were interested in a little more here. Also, I can finally remember Rosie’s name after seven episodes, so that is a plus!
Worst part of the episode: Ugh, Abby plugged her entire bar into one outlet. At one point this house and everything around it is going to blow. Also, how much is her electricity bill, if I may ask?
Weirdest part of the episode: The cold open with the “word of the day” was shot during daytime, which had me raise my eyebrows, since I believe the entire rest of the show has been shot when it was actually dark outside. For a second I didn’t know what I was watching here.
Player of the episode: All the therapist and psychoanalysts getting patients and clients with daddy (or mommy) issues deserve my respect. I’m getting the feeling those issues are more prevalent than any other potential mental illness.