Spot Inspection: 'What About Brian?'

144427__watson_lIn the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t watched an episode of ABC’s What About Brian since its pilot episode aired last April, and that’s because I thought it was screamingly awful. What’s more, my small seed of dislike for the series grew into an irrational hatred when ABC began aggressively promoting its second season with promos that centered on the exhausted clichĂ© of Brian (Barry Watson, pictured) bursting in on his best friend’s wedding to try to win the bride’s heart. (I think it was the stupid single tear streaming down Sarah Lancaster’s cheek that sent me over the edge. In fact, I just realized I’ve got some residual rage to work through.)

Anyhow, last night, with seemingly everything in reruns, I thought to myself, "Self, What About Brian is produced by J.J. Abrams, the man who gave you the lasting gifts of Felicity, Lost, and Alias. Isn’t that reason enough to give Brian a second chance?" And that’s what I foolishly did.

addCredit(“Barry Watson: Ron Jaffe”)

PopWatchers, let me tell you: What About Brian sucks evenharder than it did six months ago. Granted, the title character hasmade some progress, graduating from making plays for his best friend’sgirlfriend to crushing on — wait for it — his dad’s mistress. OK, yeah, so that’s backwardsprogress. And yeah, Brian didn’t know Bridget (Krista Allen) wascarrying on an affair with Pa Davis (William Devane) till episode’send. But from the looks of next week’s previews, that’s not gonna stopdude from pursuing her. Then again, what else can you expect from acharacter who spouts lines like, "You’re mean because you don’t wantpeople to know you’re all soft and vulnerable underneath. And that’svery sexy." Or, even more pathetic, "I feel like I’ll always be outsidethe window looking in at all the warm, happy families." Gah!

Not only that, I can’t get myself to muster up enthusiasm for anyonein Brian’s circle of friends. The only likeable character last nightwas Amanda Foreman’s bartender, and she only had two lines of dialogue.Which gives me an idea. Maybe Abrams can sweep in, eliminate the show’score characters (except for maybe man-candy Brennan Elliott), and retool Brian as a Foreman vehicle called Saucy Barkeep. Is there any other reason to keep the show alive? And also, how did both Brian and Matthew get over Marjorie so fast? Brian fans and foes, holla back.

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  • Vance

    hmm… good thing I dropped this show a while back…Marjorie was the only reason to watch anyways and now Sarah Lancaster is gone (hopefully to Everwood Colorado).

  • aramis

    Wow, Slezak, again you are a God.
    If only because you’ve managed to force yourself to watch not ONE, but TWO episodes in their entirety whilst I, ever the mindful popwatcher, have been unable to get through ten minutes of any episode. Might as I try.
    MIGHT as I try. I too watched with the premise that JJ Abrams hadn’t done us wrong before. Sadly, this was not the case with “Brian”. But I moved on, as should you. No point in filling with rage over things beyond your control.

  • marykate

    Ugh. I hate William Devane!
    What About Brian? What About Brian?
    What ABOUT Brian!!! This show is awful.

  • roel

    (except for maybe man-candy Brennan Elliott)…
    indeed! he appears the ONLY reason to watch the show!
    woot!

  • Marnie

    J.J. has done us wrong before, too! “Six Degrees” anyone? Well, not sure if he created the sap-infused drama… but at least that’s what ABC was shouting from their rooftops when it came out.

  • elizabeth

    What are you talking about? I love ‘What About Brian”. I actually love his group of friends, too! I find it very touching at times, and the characters very endearing! Don’t be so harsh…there are far worse shows on right now – spare Brian!

  • ceej

    Any show with Clooney’s ho…er, Krista Allen, has to suck.

  • Talking Moviezzz

    I soooo wanted to love this show, since I like Abrams, and loved FELICITY. When I heard this described as “FELICITY for guys” I set the Tivo Season Pass.
    Yet, I hated those first episodes with an intense passion. And I wanted to love it.
    They had the age old storyline of the couple desperately trying to get pregnant. What drams HASN’T had this exact same storyline? Especially the scene where they guy has to nervously go to the fertility clinic, in the middle of the day, to leave a sample. I mean, it was like it was being written on auto pilot.
    Then, the other couple, we were supposed to root for them to find partners to have an affair with??? And we are supposed to believe the characters were okay with this? Then the mom has sex with some guy in the back of her SUV. That was it for me. I felt violated, it was so sleazy.
    Anyway, I HATED that first season. I cancelled the Season Pass.
    What makes it even worse, BRIAN got renewed at the same time the similar and infinitely superior LOVE MONKEY got cancelled. TV just isn’t fair sometimes.

  • Mary Alice

    I watched it for the first time last night and I have to admit I kinda liked it. I will give it another viewing before deciding for or against.

  • sandra

    I watched a few episodes last season thought it was so-so and could not believe it was the only drama from last year that ABC decided to renew especiallly after cancelling such shows as INVASION and COMMANDER IN CHIEF. Big mistake ABC!!!!

  • Brent

    The show does suck. Six Degrees, while miles from great, was much better.

  • Janet

    I’m totally with you. I watched the very first one because of J.J. (despite the fact he really started to mess us over with the latter day Alias)and could not believe how trite, blah and nothing it was. I did not go back.

  • Rhonda

    bad television doesn’t neccessarily mean that the show will get cancelled. besides for the general suckiness of Brian, let’s list a few examples of sucky tv:
    the OC- i thought it would get cancelled after the first episode.
    Law and Order- crime scenes are better in person.
    Smallville- superman should be a MAN. not a boy.
    Everybody loves Raymond – if i wanted to listen to a whiny married couple, id do it in a place where the haircuts were less offensive.
    did i forget any?

  • Rosie

    People who don’t like this show are idiots. I’ve never loved a show so much and never seen one that so purely captures the feeling of “what now?” that Brian seems to have every episode, the feeling you get when all your friends are married, engaged, and moved on without you. That said, bring Sarah Lancaster back!! I loved her and Brian together; I loved her and Adam together. She’s great.

  • MattR

    Like most, I’ve caught snippets here and there.
    The best snippet? The part where Brian’s station wagon (which looked like an old Camden car) gets crunched by a semi. In fact, it was so cool they used it twice in the same episode.

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