Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pilot Review: Love Bites

Love Bites (Thursdays at 10:00 on NBC)

Wow. It's hard to believe that once upon a time this series was the darling of NBC's fall lineup. That should show you just how desperate NBC has become in the past two or so years, because Love Bites is pretty bad.

I understand that this is not the original show that was pitched and bought by the network; this pilot underwent extensive rewrites due to the pregnancy of one cast member, the departure of another, and then the hiring of a new showrunner. The concept of the show is an interconnected series of vignettes focusing on love. Okay, pretty standard. Essentially the show is 3 or 4 really short romantic comedies.

The only thing is, none of the people or stories are all that interesting. Becki Newton's character is pregnant with her sister's baby, so she gets a lot of attention from guys at bars; this upsets her best friend, who starts telling men she's a virgin to draw the attention away from the pregnant one. Hilarious, right?! Yeah, I didn't think so either. The next story concerns a man who must compete for his fiance's attention in the bedroom with a vibrator. Hilarious, right?! Yeah, not so much... especially since this is on NBC, so they never even show the thing. The final segment involves a man who meets Jennifer Love Hewitt on an overnight flight and must decide whether or not to cheat on his wife with her, since she is his one and only "celebrity exemption" (as in, they could sleep together and it won't count as cheating). Hilarious, right?! Yeah, not really.

I'll give Jennifer Love Hewitt some credit for shamelessly playing a semi-sleazy version of herself here; I'd like to think the real JLH wouldn't consider boning a stranger on a cross-country flight just hours after publicly breaking up with her latest boyfriend. And Krysten Ritter was very good in the opening segment as the fake virgin, and Lindsay Price is adorable as the woman falling for her new sex toy. Unfortunately, both of them are only guest stars in the episode; the recurring characters/main stars are the pregnant girl and the guy who loves Love. Boring.

But the biggest issue is that none of these stories go anywhere. They're introduced, played out for a few strained laughs, and then abandoned. Why do I care that Annie is pregnant with her sister's baby? I don't know, because I don't know who she is yet. Why do I care if Judd's wife cheats on  him? I don't know, because I don't know who either of them are yet. It's easy to see why this was left off the 2010-2011 season schedule after being retooled: it's a stinker.

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