'Best Friends Forever': A eulogy
Four weeks ago, NBC quietly debuted Best Friends Forever, a new sitcom that offers another variation on one of this TV season’s most popular themes (female roommates navigate big-city life). Because the show premiered in April and got little promotion or media coverage — this, for example, is the first time EW’s dedicated a post to the series — nobody should have been surprised when the network removed BFF from its schedule a few days ago.
But even though I’m not shocked by the sitcom’s fate — call it a gentleman’s cancellation — I’m still going to mourn its absence from my TV screen tonight. This is the third time this season NBC has canned a solid new comedy. And while I can understand why this trio of low-rated sitcoms all got the boot, I can’t help but think that the network didn’t really give BFF, Bent, or Free Agents much of a chance to succeed.
That’s a huge bummer, especially in Best Friends Forever‘s case. Sure, the show isn’t perfect. Its title is too generic, its dialogue can be a little too breezy, and some supporting characters fall pretty flat — I’m thinking specifically of Queenetta, the girls’ stereotypically sassy and precocious nine-year-old neighbor. But BFF also boasts warm, witty writing, a freewheeling, improv-inspired aesthetic, and a pair of leads who share the sort of easy chemistry that usually takes months to develop.
Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, the women who created and star in this show — their characters are also named Lennon and Jessica — happen to be real-life best friends who have collaborated for years. That long history gives them a uniquely comfortable dynamic onscreen; when they act opposite each other, you can tell how strong their bond is. And perhaps because Parham and St. Clair have worked together for so long, BFF‘s tone and point of view have been defined from the get-go — unlike, say, Parks and Recreation, a wonderful series that took some time to figure out what sort of sitcom it wanted to be.
Oh, and did I mention how funny Best Friends Forever is? As of yet, it’s not really a “laugh out loud” sort of show — but I really appreciate how specific and weird its jokes can get. Example: In the most recent episode, Lennon is trying to help Jessica get ready to start dating again after being dumped by her husband. Jessica isn’t sure she’s up for it. They then have the following exchange:
Given time to grow and find an audience, the show could easily become a Brooklyn-set Happy Endings. (It’s no coincidence that Adam Pally was originally cast in one of BFF‘s lead roles.) And some fans are making an effort to try to save the series — this petition, for example, urges NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke not to pull the plug on Best Friends Forever just yet. Go ahead and sign if you want; in all likelihood, though, BFF is already gone for good. And that’s a real shame.
Have you been watching this quirky single-camera sitcom, PopWatchers? And will you be as bummed as I will if it does officially get cancelled?