Ben and Kate Review: "Guitar Face" (Episode 1.09)
Like many of the shows on Fox’s Tuesday comedy lineup, Ben and Kate has created characters who are able to make even the most mundane conversations hilarious. However, Ben and Kate has found its voice much faster than shows like New Girl, Raising Hope or The Mindy Project. It may not seem like much, but it’s allowed audiences to connect with the core four of Ben and Kate faster than with any of these other shows, to the point where it makes regular conversation that doesn’t even have a punchline worth listening to.
“Guitar Face” isn’t particularly strong in terms of story, but the characters still make it one of the most charming half-hours on TV. Ben gets the first job we’ve seen him hold, which is at the country club Tommy works at. After stealing golf balls in the middle of the night, Ben gets himself and Tommy fired. We learn that Kate has a history of breaking up with guys for small, silly reasons. This time, her latest boyfriend Will is in a ZZ Top cover band, called ZZ Scott after their lead singer. He’s a decent guitar player, but his “rock face” is also his sex face. BJ goes to a divorce support group to find Will’s ex-wife, but ends up discussing how she feels separation anxiety from Kate now that she has a boyfriend.
While getting back Tommy’s job, Ben brings up the idea of RailMall, SkyMall for trains, which he seems to take a liking to. For the first time, we really see Tommy and Ben having a falling out. Pissed-off Tommy is a nice change for the usual pepped-up Tommy, and causing friction between the two main friendships in the show (Tommy and Ben, Kate and BJ) plays pretty well. BJ pretending Kate is her ex further cements Lucy Punch as kind of a comedic genius, while also showing that she does care for people other than herself.
Will has a hard line to cross, being a new, funny addition to a still-fresh cast, while also being likely to never be seen again once his character arc is up. But I’d like to petition that Will stick around. Everyone is expecting for him to not make it as Kate’s boyfriend, but what if he did? How rare is it that a sitcom nowadays has a character find someone and stay with them? On this note, it would be fantastic if Ben’s seemingly dumb RailMall idea actually took off. I’ve pointed out several times in the past how Ben and Kate usually does the opposite of what is expected; what better way to do this than to completely flip the main distinguishing characteristics of Ben and Kate before even ending the first season?
Ben and Kate has also done a fine job of taking Tommy and BJ out of the typical sidekick stereotypes. It’s a nice change seeing these two have their own adventures without having to rely on their other halves—which is kind of what makes BJ’s story so funny, that she is lamenting the loss of the person whom she sometimes leeches off for story.
Even in a not particularly memorable episode, Ben and Kate is able to be enjoyable, funny and sweet. It’s just as fun watching these four interact, even if it doesn’t feel like much is happening.