In its first season, 18 to Life was an imperfect sitcom. More often than not, it was absolutely hilarious. But it was also formulaic: in almost every episode, Jessie and Tom would have some sort of communication breakdown (sometimes small, sometimes large) that would result in a comic misunderstanding to drive the episode’s A-plot. Unfortunately, the season 2 premiere followed the same formula. However, the episode’s ending gave me hope that the show’s writers might be willing to switch it up from here on in.

This episode’s A-plot was about Tom’s and Jessie’s sex lives prior to becoming a couple. Not wanting to be outdone by Jessie, who had two previous sexual partners, Tom to pretended to have two as well. While I understand that sexual history can be an uncomfortable subject, I didn’t think that a plot driven by lies that got blown out of proportion was the proper way to address it. I would have preferred to see a plot where Tom’s discomfort at having fewer former sexual partners than Jessie played out in the open. Nonetheless, the plot provided a number of laughs. Jesse Rath’s acting has improved immensely since last season, and his delivery of Carter’s fake sex story was spot-on and perfect.

The subplots were considerably funnier. Ellen David showed her skill with facial expressiveness and physical comedy in Judith’s Botox plot line. In the subplot about Tara’s passport, Ben and Phil were hysterical. Al Goulem and Peter Keleghan play so well off each other that even if the writing isn’t up to snuff (and it was up to snuff in this case), they can spin comic gold out of it. Phil’s line about including Tara’s measurements because he wanted to show off had me in fits of laughter.

Overall, this wasn’t 18 to Life’s strongest outing, but it was far from the show’s weakest. Jessie and Tom’s promise to stop lying to each other indicates that the show might cease to use plots that involve misunderstandings between them. However, 18 to Life is a sitcom, and on sitcoms, such promises sometimes end up getting swept under the rug. In any case, as long as the show is funny (and as long as Keleghan and Goulem are involved, it certainly will be), then I can forgive the adherence to a formula and enjoy the show for what it is.

I probably won’t review 18 to Life regularly, because there’s rarely a lot to say about it, but it’s a fun show that you should definitely be watching.

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