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Commentary Review: Manhattan Love Story (S1/E2)

ABC's MANHATTAN LOVE STORY really made the right adjustments in episode 2. But it's still not that funny.

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY made some good strides this week. But it might not be enough to save it (Source: NY Mag)

COLD OPEN: You know, the show could have actually worked without the narrative consciousness, which is annoying people. For now, I think it’s hurting the show, but not by much. I think the mixing of narratives with the actual conversations between Dana and Peter are improving, but still not getting there. But overall, this episode was actually solid, although it didn’t really make me laugh or cringe. It was just…there. A good there. But just there.

ACT ONE: Dana and Peter arranges for another date, but Peter doesn’t tell Dana he’s dating other people. So when Dana (because the thought of Peter seeing her not sexy PJs) goes shopping for lingerie, she spots Peter on a date with another women. This leads to awkwardness, which showcases how Manhattan Love Story is capitalizing on how funny it could be. Barely. Hearing Dana’s and Peter’s thoughts as they progressed through their conversation (Peter calling Dana a “friend”, and hearing his consciousness scream with disappointment at himself), the narratives were timed well and were kind of good. Not great, but good none-the-less. Although Peter buying the previously-waved, stolen lingerie was over the top.

ACT TWO: So we fast-forward to Peter and Dana’s third date, and Peter brings up the previous day. Dana says it’s his business and shouldn’t matter who they date. Peter, now sensing that Dana is dating other people, starts getting jealous and defensive, saying he does have that right and pries into Dana on who she’s dating. This escalates into a fight about scheduling dates immediately after having a date, and they end up not having the date (are you with me so far?). Dana, furious over the fight, decides to start dating. And where do you go to date people: Tinder. That makes sense, because this is Manhattan, and everyone uses it (…that was dry sarcasm, by the way). However, the fight brings up an interesting question: is it right to book dates back to back? Of course, our automatic response is no. However, if we knew that someone we just went on a date with had another date with someone completely different the next day, I think we’d feel pretty cheap. So it’s an interesting conversation that, of course, would never end well. So a good topic to bring up on the show, and in doing so, we find out that Dana is stronger than we thought she was, and Peter is not as suave as he thinks he is. So that brings them back down to Earth on a believability level.

ACT THREE: Dana goes on a Tinder date which we see literally 3 seconds of. I mean, we spent more time with the guy that was trying to pretend to be her date than the guy who was actually her date (Also, you see people’s faces on Tinder, Dana’s not that stupid to think that poser was him…right?). After being introduced to the “Shock and Awe” (where you go for the kiss first thing, which the date saw on Buzzfeed….what’s happening here with all these internet buzz words popping up this hour, ABC?), Dana goes home to find Peter, who was checking up on her (because he has feelings and he doesn’t like it!). Peter explains that he didn’t expect to have strong feelings for Dana so soon, and hates dating. Dana explains she’s a strictly monogamous-dater, and hates dating. They have something in common, yay. It ends with Peter performing a “Shock and Awe” (which, of course you had to), and Dana things “awe” (which, of course, you had to).

THE CONCLUSION: Manhattan Love Story definitely made some serious strides forward in this episode, making the two characters more human and less stereotypical. Dana is becoming stronger and less fragile, while still being “comically” aloof. Peter is less frat-guy, but still the stubborn guy that guys usually are. But the show still comes down to this: while the show is trying to be authentic as it can be about relationships, it’s just not that funny. I still don’t like Dana’s lack of technological-prowess, but I like the arguments Peter and Dana have. I think given time and additional tweaks, they could become a modern-day Mad About You. But honestly, I don’t think they’ll have the opportunity. Looking at their ratings, the show doesn’t seem like it’s going to last long. With that said, a way better effort on the show’s part for episode two. Well done.

Things That I Noticed:

  • Selfie had Henry introduced to Facebook, and Manhattan Love Story had Tinder introduced to Dana. App-integration, ladies and gentlemen, brought to you by ABC.
  • It’s been two episodes, and all the scenes of Amy, Dana’s best friend, have been in her apartment. She needs to be more dynamic, and do things outside the house, not just present to push Dana through the plot-of-the-day
  • Have we even been to Peter’s place yet?
  • Is it me, or is Peter’s office designed weird? I feel weird being in his office. And where’s David’s office?
  • I’m not a huge fan of Chloe, secretary and Peter’s sister. Yet. But she did have a funny line about online dating.

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