If you strictly want to watch “Manhattan Love Story” because it is a love story set in Manhattan, you are not alone. The real New York City backdrop is one of the brightest things about ABC’s new comedy. It’s hard today to make a romantic comedy that stands out and even harder making a TV show romance that lasts over 22 episodes or more. The task might be impossible, so of course “MLS” is a little predictable.
The comedy follows Dana (Analeigh Tipton), a sweet, clumsy girl who has just moved to New York to work in publishing, and Peter (Jake McDorman), the funny, yet typically womanizing guy who works at his family’s trophy business. Peter and Dana are set up on a date by her former sorority sister Amy (Jade Catta-Preta) and his brother David (Nicolas Wright), who as it turns out is Amy’s husband. Their first date could not go worse and Peter ends up sending Dana home crying.
While a nice romantic comedy is a good escape, this one uses too many romantic cliches a little too late. The whole “Men Are From Mars. Women Are From Venus” thing is a bit played out. After seeing the first two episodes of the series several significant problems stick out, the first being the supporting players. McDorman and Tipton are very likeable in their roles, although at times their characters seem mismatched and not in a cute, opposites-attract kind of way. However the supporting cast could be better. If the series had a character for McDorman to bounce off of like Max Greenfield’s Schmidt in “New Girl” the show would be unstoppable.
Another issue with the series is there is absolutely no heat between the two main leads. Although they are both adorable and likable, they seem more like best friends than anything else. He doesn’t make her weak in the knees and vice versa. He is certainly not her Mr. Big. Now one could argue best friends often get married and build a life together, but this doesn’t seem to be the case for Dana and Peter.
The show needs to find its groove as an ensemble because if it is just Dana and Peter it is unclear what the show will be about week after week. There are only so many dating cliches they can cover.
Watch for a sweet escape, but if you are looking for substance there are much better comedies on the way to throw your heart and soul into.
“Manhattan Love Story” premieres Tuesday (Sept. 30) at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.