Imagine, for a moment, that four of the six "Friends" get married (to each other). And that the other two become involved in a relationship but that both are terrified of commitment.
Oh, and all six suddenly become completely not funny anymore.What you'd end up with would look an awful lot like NBC's new sitcom "For Your Love," which bows in tonight at 7:30 on Ch. 5.
Actually, this one looks even more like a slight update of "Living Single," which is no surprise considering that it comes to us from Yvette Lee Bowser, who created, wrote and produced that late, unlamented Fox series.
Call this one "Living Married," for the most part.
"For Your Love" revolves around three couples - two of them living in wedded bliss:
- Mel and Malena Ellis (James Lesure and Holly Robinson-Peete) are newlyweds who just moved into a house in suburban Oak Park, Ill. They're yuppies to the max - he's a lawyer and she's a psychiatrist.
- The Ellis' next-door-neighbors, Dean and Sheri Winston (D.W. Moffett and Dedee Pfeiffer) are the old married couple - all of four years! (Gee, how have they made the magic last?) And Sheri and Malena are long-time best friends.
- The third couple, Mel's brother Reggie (Edafe Blackmon) and his divorced girlfriend, Bobbi Seawright (Tamela Jones) are not married - they just sleep together all the time. They are indeed a couple, although both of them insist they aren't looking for a commitment.
On the plus side, "For Your Love" has something very few network television shows (and even fewer comedies) have an interracial cast. Four of the six stars are black, two are white, and there's no distinction made. The show is pretty much colorblind and race doesn't come between these people.
It's just unfortunate that something as positive as that has to be part of a show as weak as this one.
While this is supposed to be based on Bowser's real life, apparently she's spent a large proportion of her time watching a whole lot of television. TV cliches fly thick and fast, and there doesn't seem to be a single plotline in the pilot episode that we haven't seen uncounted times before.
- There's the cliche about how women throw men's stuff away after they get married.
- There's the cliche in which, less than seven minutes into the first show, one of the women (Malena) thinks she's pregnant.
- That's followed closely by the cliche in which the prospective father becomes overly protective, even insisting his wife not stand up at one point. And by his envisioning his child sitting on the Supreme Court.
- There's the cliche in which the single guy doesn't want his girlfriend to have a key to his apartment - and goes to extremes to get it back when she does acquire one. (There's even a silly scene in which Reggie goes through Bobbi's pockets while they're in a clinch.)
- There's the cliche about how single guys think married guys are "whipped."
If any of this were funny, it would be one thing. But it's not.
When Malena questions what Bobbi sees in Reggie, Bobbi replies, "Well, he's charming, he's sweet, he's afraid of marriage and he is great in bed."
"So is a cup of cocoa and a Cosmo," Malena replies.
It's disappointing, but not surprising, that that's just one of more than 20 sexually oriented jokes or comments in the pilot - which, of course, runs 22 minutes without advertisements.
Despite its interracial cast, "For Your Love" is bland, vanilla television. The characters and situations are generic.
This show is a cookie-cutter comedy. And there are more than enough of those on television already.