Ben and Kate Review: "B-Squad" (Episode 1.11)
In “B-Squad,” Ben, Kate and BJ must come to terms with the fact that they might never be what they expected themselves to be. Kate expected she would raise Maddie with a husband, or at the very least, a boyfriend who doesn’t literally run away when he finds out she’s pregnant. Ben always tries to find the business that will get him rich and famous fast, but he never follows through. BJ will never live up to the expectations that her mother, played by Jane Seymour, has for her, even if she can brag that she has less earlobe fat than her mother. It’s something that Ben and Kate needed to address, yet the way it gets around it in “B-Squad” is mostly awkward.
Kate finds out that Maddie didn’t make the gifted class and is left in the class where kids can’t be trusted with buttons. Maddie’s teacher hints that it might be due to her single-parent family, so when she’s not looking, Kate steals the curriculum handbook for the gifted class.
Ben has moved on up at the country club, going from ball collector to snack bar attendant in only a few weeks. He runs into his old friend Matt Swan, who has become successful from a pizza-on-top-of-pizza idea that Ben originally came up with. BJ meanwhile is trying to show off to her mother, making her think that she is more successful than she really is with Tommy along for the ride.
In what is a very weird turn, Ben decides it isn’t fair for just Maddie to get a leg up on her competition and essentially kidnaps all of the other children who didn’t make the special class. Kate quickly goes along with this plan and decides to take the kids to the planetarium, because that’s what the gifted students had on their schedule. But instead Ben takes them all to Swan’s restaurant to confront him.
But Ben and Kate could have gotten around to these issues—both Kate and Ben’s insecurities about their past and futures—without revolving around stealing children and bunk bed-style pizzas. It doesn’t make much sense and each of the characters’ realizations (that Kate has raised a great daughter and that Ben needs to follow up on some of his better ideas) don’t seem to have much to do with their rebellious little field trip.
Speaking of not having much to do, Tommy is once again resorted to sidekick, as he creates a character of Paolo to help BJ lie to her mom. Everything Tommy does in this episode is great, but there isn’t really a story for him. The BJ and her mom dynamic is worth it only to see Seymour and Rob Corddry build their sexual tension. But both of the storylines this week are funny enough, even if they don’t make much sense at all.
It’s great that in “B-Squad,” Ben and Kate have decided to deal with many of the issues that the two stars have in their lives, but it’s handled in such a weak way. Maybe this is just a start to more of the self-awareness that Ben and Kate both need to discover, but in the future, hopefully it’ll be handled with more care.