I didn’t catch Friends with Better Lives after the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, but I finally caught an episode last night, and I wish I hadn’t. It’s terrible. All the goodwill that Brooklyn Decker built up on The League and the goodwill that James Van Der Beek built up on Don’t Tell the B—— in Apt. 23 and all the goodwill that Kevin Connolly built up by not appearing onscreen since Entourage completely vanished within the first two minutes of the sitcom.
The cold open was devoted to a story James Van Der Beek’s character tells about a first date he had, in which a dumb blonde character grazed his testicle, which was the “greatest first date ever” according to Connolly’s character, who just wishes that his wife (the shrewish pregnant woman sitting next to him) would look at his testicles occasionally (she glances at his crotch and sarcastically utters, “Happy now”?).
The A-plot picks it up from there, as we watch Van Der Beek navigate contemporary dating after having recently gotten a divorce. He receives a text with a picture of the dumb blonde’s vagina (“Look at that, it looks like it’s winking at ya!”), proceeds to send the dumb blonde a picture of his penis (flaccid, so as not to look overeager) and the entire date ends with Van Der Beek naked and tied to the dumb blonde’s bed with Christmas tree lights.
The B-plot involves the three female characters — Recently Engaged Blonde (Decker), Shrewish Pregnant Woman (Majandra Delfino) and Successful but Unhappily Single Businesswoman (Zoe Lister Jones) — planning the wedding of REB, only to realize that the SUBS really wants a wedding of her own and is sad that she’s single. The other two happily oblige her by staging her a surprise wedding dinner using her credit card.
The other subplot involves Kevin Connelly — a gynecologist — and the REB’s Fiance, Australian Stereotype, playing a doubles tennis tournament, which they ultimately have to throw so as not to upset Connelly’s boss, who is played by Stephen Tobolowsky, who I hope received a very, very large check for making bad vagina puns.
It’s all, of course, scored by a laugh track; not one minute goes by without a crass, unfunny reference to a penis or a vagina; a “dingo ate my baby” joke is made at the expense of the Australian; and not one single genuine laugh can be found in the sitcom’s entirety. It’s like a very bad episode of Friends (ironically, it comes from two former Friends’ writers) written and performed with all the enthusiasm of a popped blister comically oozing pus.