Comedywise, CBS has hit it out of the park this season. The network has confirmed renewals for “2 Broke Girls,” Mom,” “Mike & Molly,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Millers,” and “Two and a Half Men.” Still, there is no denying that the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” is going to leave a gaping hole in their Monday night lineup. Fortunately CBS has a pretty funny solution to their opening – “Friends With Better Lives.”
The new sitcom starring Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”), Majandra Delfino (“State of Georgia”), James Van Der Beek ("Dawson’s Creek"), Zoe Lister-Jones (“Whitney”), Brooklyn Decker (“Just Go with It”) and Rick Donald (“Home and Away”) will be premiering after “How I Met Your Mother’s” one-hour series finale on Monday, which is a smart move on the network’s part to give the show a bump in viewership. Created by Dana Klein, who also worked as a producer and writer on “Friends,” the multi-camera comedy has the necessary formula to keep viewers coming back to CBS on Monday nights after the conclusion of “HIMYM.”
The series revolves around a group of friends who are struggling with their relationships (or lack of) and are slightly envious of each other. A new concept in the TV world? Not exactly, but the cast fits together perfectly.
OB/GYN Bobby (Connolly) is married to Andi (Delfino), and they have one child. (Only thing that bothered me about the show is that the kid, who has to be an infant, didn’t make an appearance or even let out a single cry. What parent is that lucky to have a silent child?) They are currently letting Bobby’s OB/GYN partner, Will (Van Der Beek), stay at their home as he deals with a separation from his wife. Will’s delusional about his relationship, believing that he’ll work things out with his wife even though she slept with their couple’s counselor.
Then there is Kate (Lister-Jones) and Jules (Decker), Andi’s former sorority sisters who used to bond over being single … until Jules unexpectedly gets engaged to Lowell (Donald), an Australian heartthrob she met on a yoga retreat 16 days ago. While Jules may be happy about her new relationship, Kate is far from it. Why? Because Kate is still single … and a little superficial when it comes to her dates. In a montage similar to what “HIMYM” fans are familiar with, “Friends With Better Lives” broke down some of Kate’s deal breakers -- like “bald,” “one big ball,” and “red hair … everywhere.”
It’s obvious that the big laugh bringers on “FWBL” are Zoe Lister-Jones and James Van Der Beek, who previously showed his comedy chops on “Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23,” the canceled yet hilarious ABC show that no one watched in 2013. Rick Donald, who is a big name on Australian TV, and Brooklyn Decker, who is better known from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, are the perfect eye candy on screen … even giving the viewers what they want by stripping down to their skivvies halfway through the pilot.
But honestly, the big surprise actually came from Kevin Connolly. Well known for his time as “E” on “Entourage,” the actor generally appears as a major buzzkill on screen. But here Connolly was quick and witty, sharing great chemistry with Majandra Delfino, the perfect girl-next-door character to round out the cast.
CBS’s new comedy has the perfect amount of naughty sex jokes to replace Barney’s “legendary” tales; bad dates to remember Ted by; sass to reminisce about Robin; and enough lovey-dovey action to always keep Marsh-mallow and Lily-pad close to your heart.
“Friends With Better Lives” will premiere on CBS at 9 p.m. EDT Monday, following the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother.” The sitcom will then move to its regular time slot at 8:30 p.m. on CBS on April 7.