Ben & Kate S01E07 "Career Day"

One problem while cooking with a Crock Pot is that the food can be burnt and taste bitter. Burnt and bitter are two synonyms that describe "Career Day". I've been a fan of Ben & Kate but tonight's episode left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Ben tries selling wine in order to speak at Maddie's career day and Kate goes on a date with her neighbor, Will. The problem with the episode wasn't on the story board (which was done pretty well) but in the lines and jokes themselves.

The show relies too much on the quirky, stream-of-conscious, babbling Ben. While the titular character is a quote machine his jokes miss more than they land, and even when they do they're only worth a chuckle. It's frustrating because tonight's episode showed flashes of talented writing. The continual jokes throughout the episode of the Crock Pot metaphor and the simmering stage are pushed aside to Ben's goofiness.

Ben learns that Maddie's school is having a career day and decides he needs to find a job. After going through his entrepreneur's playbook with his sidekick Tommy they opt to revolutionize the adult beverage industry rather than revive the American railroad industry. The two begin going door to door to housewives around the neighborhood selling their wine "Veronique" Ben's lover in France during the summer of '95.

The wine sellers throw a tasting at Kate's house while she's on a date with Will. We are introduced to "winesicles" (not a bad idea) and the kitchen is stocked full of housewives tasting Veronique and making chit chat. Joanna, a housewife who flirts with men in order to anger her husband, continues hitting on Ben. Joanna mentions that Will divorced his wife before Christmas causing Ben to leave, along with Ron (Joanna's husband) to save his sister.

The episode begins with Kate flirting with Will outside the house. Ben and BJ watch from the door spying on Kate's encounter. BJ is thrilled that Kate is flirting with the neighbor while Ben is suspicious and displeased that Kate keeps getting bagels in order to run into Will. Ben decides to do some re-con and invites Will over for an impromptu barbecue. We learn that Will is a social worker for at risk youth and besides for a streaking incident after a swimming championship he seems like a decent guy.

Before Will takes Kate out for a date Ben intercepts him at the door and tells him about Kate's past. Ben's speech about Kate's fear of being abandoned and her lack of adult action completely throws Will off. Throughout the dinner Will is jittery, rambling, and very Ben-like. Kate, sensing the tension comes clean about her past and they reconcile by heading back to Will's place. Ben (and Ron) barge into Will's living room and tells Kate about Will's divorce. Will explains that he divorced his wife three weeks before Christmas because she never put their daughter first. Ron proceeds to beat up Ben for flirting with Joanna.

The episode concludes with Ben giving a "motivational" speech at career day saying, "don't worry about not succeeding, because trying is succeeding ... unless you're trying to fail .. then failing is succeeding."

NOTES & QUOTES

  • The chemistry between all the characters continues to grow. Scenes with only two characters together seem to work the best. I'd like to see more scenes with Ben and Tommy / Kate and BJ.
  • The writing needs to come out more. While I like Ben's character there are times where some of his jokes take over everything. Kate, BJ, and Tommy all bring different forms of comedy and if the show could become a little more balanced I think it could really flourish.
  • It will be interesting to see how long Will stays in the picture. Since the premise is about a woman struggling to raise a girl on her own and her older brother moving in to help out I wouldn't think there could be a major role for another male character coming in.
  • "You got more bagels? What is this Yom Kippur?"
  • "Me and my buddies went streaking at downtown San Antonio after our swim team won state." "Public indecency ... yea, not off to a great start Will"
  • "That is when I will see you with my looking balls."
  • "Do we name to many operations?"

Line of the Night - Joanna:

Quote:

Yea I'm drunk, so what? You're fat!

Comments 2
George Prax's picture

I think I disagree with you a little here Shane. I really enjoyed the episode, although it sort of fell apart at the end. My favorite thing about this show is how Ben and BJ talk to Maddie like she's an adult. BJ had been doing it more before but Ben was on fire with it last night. Like when Maddie explains to him what career day is and he's like "ugh, ya, i can read", or later when he tells her to leave the room and she doesn't understand. I find that really funny as while other shows have used children for adult jokes I don't think there are many that treat typical 5-year-olds as adults for the sake of humor and that's really funny to me.

I agree that they should pair off the characters more, but I think it should be Kate/Tommy (eventual hookup is certain) and Ben/BJ.

Shane Brennan's picture

I watched the episode again this morning and still feel the same way. I think you're right, the way Maddie is treated is hilarious. I'm a fan of all the characters and feel that they're not utilized. And I agree - Kate and Tommy will definitely hook up and could be pretty funny.