Okay so firstly. The above photo is the movie poster for the show Friends With Benefits; however, now that I’ve had a proper look at it, I’ve realised that two of the people in this photo aren’t even in the show. Who the heck are those two mysterious guys on the left? I have no clue. As you can see, this show is already off to a bad start.
As if matters couldn’t get any worse, Friends With Benefits debuted back in August right after Friends With Benefits, the popular new film, was released. Well done NBC. Well done. However, this television show hadn’t reached my attention until now and this is probably due to the fact that NBC decided not to allow critics to view the show before it’s premiere consequently starving it of the attention that it needed. Note how I said that the attention it needed, not the attention it deserved.
Friends With Benefits is, as you can imagine, about a group of friends… with benefits. It’s sort of like friends with more sex and less humour. Instead of waiting for Ross and Rachel to get together, we’ve skipped out all the messy stuff inbetween and we’ve arrived at sex central where Ross and Rachel, sorry Ben and Sara, are already going at it like rabbits. The sex scenes aren’t even steamy or sexy, they just seem desperate. Of course, they say they’re just friends, but we’ve all heard that one before. Another thing to make it more obvious that this is another attempt to recreate the Friends franchise is the fact that each and every episode is named: ‘The benefit of —‘. Ring any bells? This is a blatant copy of the way that each Friend’s episode was labelled: ‘The one —‘, and had the shown actually showed itself worthy of stealing some original Friend’s ideas, I may have forgiven it. To be honest, there isn’t much other ‘friends with benefits’ that goes on which made me doubt the whole purpose of the sure. Sure, the needy (and nerdy) Aaron, develops feelings for Riley after their one night hookup, but even that’s not a major plot line. The other character, Julian, is what I can only assume to be the resident playboy, but he really doesn’t suit the role and there aren’t nearly enough scenes that show him to be this character and so he seems a bit like a lost cannon floating alongside the rest of the cast.
This show had the potential to be really funny and entertaining; however, it failed because it had a poorly constructed plot line and crap actors. Actually, the actors weren’t crap, in fact they’ve all been pretty decent actors in their other works, but for some reason they were all awful in this movie. Everything was overexaggerated and not in a funny way, but an annoying and repetitive way. Right now in my brain I can picture each and every character with a particular look or action on their face which just goes to show how much each of them must’ve used those moves. Sara (Danneel Ackles) always has an indignant what-are-you-talking-about look on her face; Ben (Ryan Hansen) has the same look of confusion, or that annoying face he puts on when he’s trying to be clever; Julian’s (Andre Holland) either got a perverted smile on his face or raised-far-too-high eyebrows; Riley’s (Jessica Lucas) always checking herself out in the mirror and Aaron (Zach Cregger) always looks dejected or exasperated.
This isn’t a totally humourless show; however, the majority of the moments which were supposed to be funny are just annoying. The characters actions aren’t funny, they just make them seem really dumb, which presumably wasn’t the aim of the show. I found myself sighing with exasperation as I watched NBC’s desperate attempt to make it’s audience laugh. There were some moments when I laughed, but these were moments of incredulity when I was either stunned by the stupidity of the characters actions or stunned by the stupidity of the plot, still, I guess that’s better than nothing.
Thankfully there are only 13 episodes to this series and each episode is only around 20 minutes long so I didn’t waste too much of my time watching this. However, for some extremely odd reason, NBC decided to release the 13th episode, the season finale, on iTunes and Amazon only, meaning that viewers would actually have to pay to watch it. I’m pretty sure most people just said hell-to-the-no at that point and walked away. If they even bothered to continue watching to episode 13, which to be honest, is quite unlikely. It doesn’t look like it’s been a good couple of months for NBC as their other debut show, Love Bites, did not go down too well with the critics either.
Given that ‘Friends With Benefits’ has already finished airing on television, I don’t particularly see much point in watching it now and it definitely isn’t DVD worthy. Trust me, you’re not missing out anything.