A Crazy Theory About Friends with Benefits

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I’m generally a fan of Occam’s Razor: the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is the likeliest. But after watching the last two scheduled episodes of NBC’s Friends with Benefits last night, I find myself less enamoured with that principle. Friends with Benefits has by no means been a great show, but it hasn’t been a clunker either. Usually, I’m content to dismiss mediocrity as the product of not very talented people, but there are a few signs which point to an alternative explanation: the version of Friends with Benefits that we saw isn’t the one that the creators had intended to produce from the outset. Sound crazy? I’ll explain after the jump. More

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Thoughts on Friends With Benefits, Relationship Sitcoms, and Production Vacuums

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After pushing back the premiere of Friends with Benefits by more than a month, NBC finally debuted the show last night. As the sixth in a line of relationship sitcoms from the 2010-2011 season, it’s bound to be overlooked, but I’ll offer some thoughts about it and how it compares to those shows after the jump. More

Happy Endings and The Season of Relationship Sitcoms

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In light of the news that NBC’s long-delayed Friends with Benefits is set to premiere on June 25th, I think it’s an appropriate time to take a look back at what has arguably been this season’s most common genre of new comedies: the relationship sitcom. Not counting Friends with Benefits, no fewer than 5 sitcoms about people in various stages of their romantic lives debuted on American network television: Perfect Couples, Traffic Light, Happy Endings, Better with You, and Mad Love. I never watched those last two; both were multi-camera sitcoms that I had very little interest in watching. But I did watch all of Perfect Couples and Traffic Light, and I’ve seen all of Happy Endings that has aired so far.

Whether the glut of these shows was caused by simple coincidence or by a prevailing false belief among network execs that such sitcoms would be wildly popular, we’ll never know. What we do know is that all 5 of those comedies were critically panned, and all but one was them was cancelled. The sole survivor: Happy Endings. More