bff 1 nbc 'Best Friends Forever': Not your average comedy

The first thing viewers need to know about the new NBC show “Best Friends Forever” is it’s completely different than any single-camera comedy on network TV. It offers neither the cadence nor tone programs like “The Office” or “Modern Family” have preconditioned us to expect. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The program begins as Lennon (Lennon Parham) is dumped by her husband. Completely distraught, she moves to New York to live with her best friend Jessica (Jessica St. Clair) and her boyfriend Joe (Luka Jones). The emotionally fragile Lennon needs all the support she can get from Jessica. The conflict comes in as Joe struggles to figure out how he’s going to survive within this new dynamic.

As for the actual pilot episode, Jessica and Joe are planning something they call “Lazy Sunday,” which involves watching sports and eating food that’s likely very bad for you. Given Lennon’s recent woes, Jessica tries to make things easy for her new housemate, resulting in a drastic change in plans. This news doesn’t go over well with Joe and he starts to wonder whether he’s essentially being demoted in his home and in his relationship with Jessica.

At the same time Joe is planning a big announcement, something that Jessica will certainly want to hear. We’re not told what it is until the reveal at the end, and we shan’t ruin the surprise. But suffice it to say, it offers a very tender moment, one you typically don’t see on network TV.

That’s the charm of “Best Friends Forever.” The level of care between real-life friends (and show co-creators) Parham and St. Clair is obvious from the get go. It often feels like rather than watching a show, you’re actually catching a glimpse into their real lives, warts and all. 

The show does have its shortcomings, however. While there are some genuinely sweet and real moments, Parham hasn’t really figured out how to play her emotional woes properly. Her breakdown feels hollow and inconsistent with what St. Clair brings to the table. Jones is fine, although his performance can be a little flat.

If you’re looking for a show that offers the dry wit of most single camera comedies, this isn’t the program for you. But if you’re seeking what is probably the truest definition of dramedy, featuring a number of real emotional moments about people who need each other, “Best Friends Forever” is a good place to start.

The show debuts on NBC on Wednesday (April 4) at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Posted by:David Eckstein