Spoiler alerts, for those who care about these sorts of things.
I have to admit — I’ve been watching this show while exercising on the exercise bike in the basement in the mornings. And I know that there are a lot of people — on my facebook news feed, for instance — who love, love this show.
But, while it’s a fine enough show, I just can’t get emotionally invested in it, because the people and the situations don’t feel true-to-life enough.
Toby woos Kate for no reason that I can tell, because it takes her ages to reciprocate any of the affection he shows for her. He seems not to be encumbered by a job, as does she, though perhaps Kevin shared some of his earnings from The Manny with her.
William too perfectly fits into the role of wise grandfather, and turns out to have shed his addiction just a few short years after he started, but has been getting high since then with the go-ahead from some expert. Oh, and that episode where he teaches one of the girls how to play chess, then shortly afterwards she wins a chess tournament? (Or was the “teaching” supposed to be that William was not just a poet and musician but was teaching her advanced chess strategies, too?)
Even the whole mechanics of Rebecca finding William — he just happens to figure out that the firefighter took the baby to the hospital, and just happens to linger outside the entrance, and she just happens to see him there, and the bus driver just happens to know where he lives?
And Rebecca seemingly waits until the kids are — what, 15? — to try to build a life other than raising the kids. And before she and Jack married, exactly how did she pay the rent on her apartment if she didn’t have a job?
And Kevin’s ex-wife just happens to be living in the city that he has moved to for other reasons, and reunites with him. And Kevin, who up to this point has been introduced to us as a character who womanizes and loves nice things but that’s about it, out of no where, when asked by the girls what happens when you die, pulls out a painting that he painted in order to reflect on his script (which he says he does before every such acting job, even though we’ve been told that he was a nobody before he got his big break in The Manny), and shares wise thoughts with them?
And the distances? The childhood home is in Pittsburgh, where Rebecca and Miguel seemingly still live, but that’s an easy drive from New York City? And William takes a bus back and forth between the two cities every day? Perhaps I’ve gotten the locations confused but I don’t think so.
Besides which, I don’t quite understand how NBC renewed this not just for one, but two more seasons. How long will they wait until the Big Reveal of how Jack died? And it seems like so much of the storytelling so far has been centered on making “so that’s why” connections between past and present (present-day Thanksgiving traditions and the first Thanksgiving they spent as a nuclear family), which they’ll run out of eventually; they’ll also run out of the Big Surprise plot twists (surprise! William is bisexual and has a lover he left behind) to toss in there.
And the monologues! At least one of the advantages of watching this on-demand is that I can fast-forward when I get bored.
There were some genuinely touching movements, I’ll admit, but also too many times when I’ve thought, “no way is this realistic.”
And, by the way, the entire purpose of this little rant was to reward myself for biting my tongue when yet another facebook friend posted something about the show.