TV Review: “Friends with Better Lives” – I’m Better Off

Written by Emily Stewart April 22, 2014


“Friends with Better Lives” is an interesting concept for a sitcom, if not familiar. It follows six friends in their 30s, including two couples, with different relationship statuses. You’ve got the married couple with a kid, the newly engaged couple, the guy going through a divorce, and the single girl who’s incredibly picky. It’s a relevant narrative, because everyone’s in a different point in their lives, regardless of age. However, most of the characters are awfully stereotyped and overly acted that it’s hard to enjoy. There’s humour, but “Friends with Better Lives” will make you realize you are, in fact, better off than the cast in the show.

Plenty in Stock

Since the narrative of “Friends with Better Lives” has been done before in a couple of successful sitcoms, you’d think it would take off well. However, the characters are brutally stereotyped to their relationship statuses. Jules (Brooklyn Decker) and Lowell (Rick Donald) are the worst stereotypes. They just met on vacation, and are absolutely in love with each other. You know those couples that are “so madly in love” that they act disgustingly romantic all the time? That’s them. They’re engaged by the end of the pilot, and they even bounce back fast from their first fight. To be honest, they were slightly thrilled for a moment. Maybe it’s because I’m single and bitter, but they are a bit nauseating at times.

Majandra Delfino, Brooklyn Decker, and Rick Donald in "Friends with Better Lives"

Speaking of single and bitter, Kate (Zoe Lister-Jones) is picky beyond belief. She’s had quite a history, but always finds something wrong by the first date. The problem with the guy she saw in the first episode? He was too short. She also has a very dry and sarcastic tone to every line she speaks. Now, normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing. However, the actress over acts to the point where it just becomes obvious that her character is being sarcastic. It’s just bad acting.

“What is this, what am I watching?”

At first, married couple Bobby (Kevin Connolly) and Andie (Majandra Delfino) didn’t seem too bad in terms of stereotypes-until they have a discussion with Jules and . They state they are barely intimate, and ironically have been married for seven years. They even forgot their anniversary! Since they didn’t over act, they were tolerable. Upon further reflection, however, it’s evident they are a stereotype too. Those two have been married for seven years, a clear reference to the seven year itch. I guess it’s normal for couples to be at their stage after a certain amount of time, but did the writers really have to make their anniversary seven years? The only tolerable character is the Will (James Van Der Beek), the strongest performer who wasn’t too stereotyped in the beginning. In the second episode, however, he has a hard time getting women. When he does, however, she’s both into him and his wingwoman Kate, and expecting a two for one deal. Will admits he’s only slept with his now ex-wife, so his lack of success in the dating game is pretty cliche.

If I have one positive thing to say about this show, it’s that the costumes and sets are brightly coloured and fun to look at. Still, I can’t think of one person who watches a sitcom purely for the colours. That’s not the point of the genre, let alone any form of comedy. The whole point is to make people laugh. “Friends with Better Lives” does have its moments where you just have to laugh, because you’re thankful that you are not living their nightmare scenarios. However, you are better off just watching one of the classics with a similar concept. Perhaps you need to visit some old “Friends”?

My Rating: 4.5/10 

The cast of "Friends with Better Lives"

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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