Pilot Review: Manhattan Love Story

On Tuesday, ABC premiered Manhattan Love Story immediately following the premiere of Selfie. The show follows the relationship of Dana (Analeigh Tipton), a recently-moved, technologically-challenged girl, and Peter (Jake McDorman), a frat-mentality businessman. Oh, and you hear their thoughts throughout the entire show.

So Manhattan Love Story (MLS) has some major issues. While Selfie had many minor problems that could be sorted out through a few episodes, I had major problems with the storyline of this show.

Now as a network executive, you know the show is going to be watched predominately by girls. Because guys do not watch shows like thisSo look at the show through an eye of a girl, your network’s key demo:

The very first thing we saw is Jake on the street staring at boobs. So, right off the gate, girls are like…ah…nope. But then we saw Dana, who has an obsession with purses. Which was fine and a little bit comical when she realized she wanted a man purse. Peter and Dana passed by each other and found each other attractive. But when they met later, THEY DIDN’T RECOGNIZE EACH OTHER? Really? It was later that same day. Come on now. That just irks me on a continuity-believability level.

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY just missed left and…left. It was never right. (Caption: ABC)

Dana was set up by her friend Amy to date Peter so Dana could get a good jump into the city life. However, upon trying to find out who Peter was, she 1) tried to Facebook search Peter but entered into her status instead, 2) tried to send a text message Peter but called him instead, and 3) tried to send Amy a text about Peter but…you guess it…sent it to Peter instead. No. I refuse to believe a young women is that technologically-challenged.

And then there’s Peter, who pretty much assumed Dana’s the ugly girl in the Dana’s Facebook picture. He’s pretty much a jerk about it. We saw Kurt Fuller (the boss). He had one funny line. We were glad to see Kurt Fuller.

So the date arrives, and it just doesn’t make any sense. Peter stared at Dana’s boobs, and Dana knew he was. There’s a cute moment where Dana moved her head down to meet with Peter’s eyeline and she called him out on it. Yay! The jerk streak was over now, right? Nope. Dana gave Peter her list of things to do in New York. Peter poked fun at how touristy it was, and Dana….started…crying. Seriously, was her self-confidence that low? Sure, she had a bad day at work (the workers think she’s after their jobs), but most girls don’t cry right there. In their thoughts, both characters acknowledge how ridiculous this was. But Dana ran away, date over.

What would happen over the next 15 minutes is cartoonish. Peter asked for forgiveness, but it blew up in his face when it was revealed Amy forced Peter into apologizing and Peter felt he had nothing to apologize about. So Amy rejected him…for the 2nd time. Then Peter realized that making fun of Dana’s list was insensitive (duh-duh!) and surprised her with one of her wishlist items as a 3rd-time’s-the-charm surprise. They go see the Statue of Liberty. Peter started crying to bring this full circle. Pilot over.

My goodness.

Peter (Jake McDorman) and Dana (Analeigh Tipton) could be a fairly decent couple…if girls weren’t already going to hate Peter. (Source: ABC)

Firstly, the character’s thoughts didn’t produce enough great insight. I don’t mind if you show someone as clueless, but don’t put them as stupid. Yes, guys are stupid, but Peter’s a frat-stupid and no one likes frat-stupid guys. Look at every love story on network television. Not one frat guy.

Secondly, after an entire pilot, would any girl be okay with Peter? No! Yes, we all make mistakes. But being inside Peter’s head just makes us want to shoo him away. Dana deserves better.

Or does she? I mean, Dana gave three chances to a guy who made her cry, who cared more about boobs than conversation, and who didn’t want to date her in the first place. So he’s romantic for three seconds and you jump at the chance to be with him? It’s a writing stereotype that need to end. I want the assertiveness Dana had at work when she stood up to her bully managers (Best thought-line of the night went to Dana: “the fist bump: the handshake of douchebags”).

I’m not won by Dana’s aloofness and I’m not won by Peter’s selfishness. I’m not won by the supporting cast, and the dialogue/writing is just not up to snuff. I’d like to see backbone from Dana. I’d like to see Peter becomes less frat-guy and more regular business guy. Humanize these characters instead of making them tropes.

Ultimately, I’d like for Dana and Peter not to date at first, to have Dana become a better women and Peter a better man over time. But that’s not going to happen. And because of that, girls will lose respect for the show.

But I did like the trophy thing. Because I thought it was cute. And because they are both mediocre.

I think the MLS is beyond repair. But 2 more episodes will really solidify my judgement.

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