We all have our prejudices. They're the very personal and quite possibly irrational dislikes (or perhaps outright hatreds) that make open and honest dialogue with our fellow human beings so difficult at times.
The real problems arise when these prejudices are based on assumptions instead of experience. I'd wager many who claim to despise Muslims have never met one in real life, while our enemies, blinded as they are by ideology, might give pause if they knew of the innate decency of (most) Americans.
My point is, sometimes preconceived notions unfairly color our perceptions. Which is why the mere mention of Gwyneth Paltrow at the beginning of last night's installment of Up All Night was enough to put me off the episode entirely.
Okay, that's not entirely true. I just find it hard to believe Chris (Will Arnett) would actually go to GP's Web site for a gnocchi recipe. Mostly because I refuse to believe anyone actually goes to GP's Web site. Period.
But that isn't the sitcom problem this episode. No, the issue in question is Regan's (Christina Applegate) response to Chris's attempt to reignite some postpartum romance: namely, tying the hair up and putting on a sweatshirt. Dammit, Gwyneth says maintaining romance once you have kids is important, and you don't want to anger Gwyneth.
Why do you think Chris Martin always has those Band-Aids on his hands?
Out of nowhere, enter Reed (Will Forte), Chris's old friend we haven't seen since the show began. He's going to get the cylinders firing in the old matrimonial sexwagon (sorry, it sounded good when I wrote it last night after three beers). They start by comparing undergarments. I'm pretty comfortable with my masculinity, but I've...rarely stood around in my living room admiring a friend's banana hammock.
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Chris is, unfortunately, something of a side project in this Ava-centric week. It turns out B Ro (Jorma Taccone) -- Ava's ex-boyfriend -- is getting married. Ava, predictably, takes it poorly. She also blames Regan for their split, and props for the Lisa Stansfield reference ("Been Around the World" is my jam). The news leads to Ava's abortive attempts to destroy the control room and a subsequent meeting with...Ro, who counters some of Ava's claims of douchery (accused of sleeping with TLC, he replies, "It was only T & L, C just stayed the night").
Things end predictably (Regan and Chris find a happy compromise to their romantic issues) and Ava emerges from her reunion with B Ro stronger than before. But a few thematic shifts were evident last night that seem to indicate NBC is shifting some of the leading man burdens from Arnett. For starters, the continued toning down of Ava's character (maybe not as apparent in the control room scene) demonstrates UaN is becoming more of an ensemble show. Was this the plan all along, or is the network finally starting to realize Arnett may be an acquired taste audiences just aren't that interested in acquiring?
And the video for Ava and B Ro's '90s duet, "Basically," just feels out of place. The Lonely Island stuff (of which Taccone is a member) is good for SNL, but doesn't fit with what we've seen on the show so far. If they're going into Family Guy territory ("It's just like that time you ______ with _______ and then _________."), the wheels could come off the show fairly quickly.
Still, not a bad episode. And I like how three weeks in they already have a nine-month old baby.