TV has been in the trenches of the dating wars for years. From the once boundary-bursting hookups of “Sex and the City” through the sexual mishaps and pratfalls of “Happy Endings” to the self-analytical and sometimes degrading pairings of “Girls,” the process of meeting and mating is always ripe for tragicomedy.
Keeping pace with society's evolving nonchalance about all things sexual, a TV comedy now narrows the focus.
A new ABC half-hour series is set entirely in a fictional Manhattan bar and served with a twist: The entire first season chronicles 10 people in a bar on one night, moment to moment, drink to drink, with 13 episodes charting the course of the hunt.
“Mixology,” premiering Feb. 26, is a comedic concoction intended to serve the dating demo. Presumably these characters will have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding their prince/princess.
With flashbacks to explore each character's personality, starting at birth, the story traces the expected bar phenomena — wingmen and vomit — with a voiceover narrator offering generalizations about humanity. How did each character become who they are? What elements from their past figure into who they are looking for now? What drives them to make certain choices? The house special is raunchy humor, with a semi-sweet chaser.
The subterfuge and strategizing involved in picking up a date in a bar has been examined in countless films and TV shows. The multiple lines of attack, the array of poses and pretenses and outright lies have been previously inspected. And the lexicon of fantasies and conquests has been thoroughly aired. These guys want to “smash it,” “crush it,” “knock it out,” “bang it” and, of course, “hit that.” Endlessly.
(Let's assume the Ph.D. theses have already been written concerning the physical violence involved in modern coupling semantics.)
There's nothing groundbreaking in the set-up beyond the innovative time- frame device.
So far, it's less funny than intriguing, a way to shake p the sitcom.
One thing “Mixology” has going for it is the large ensemble. There are lots of single characters in search of love/lust/a diversion, and lots of potential matchups. If you can't stand one set of personalities, the story quickly moves on to the next pair-of-the-moment.
So far, Adan Canto (“The Following”) as Dominic the bartender, and Alexis Carra (“Incredible Girl”) as a single mom are among the more intriguing players.
The other thing the show has going for it is its time slot: Launching behind “Modern Family” can only help.
The series, the first scripted entry from Ryan Seacrest Productions, seems awfully superficial, at least in the first three episodes available for preview. The writers will have to prove their claim that it's about more than hooking up. With luck, characters will develop and relationships will deepen before last call.