If the premiere episode of The Class is any indication of the direction the producers intend to go with this ensemble comedy, CBS may very well rule Monday nights this season. As the lead-in for a night that includes How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Two And a Half Men, it has the potential to propel the network to the ratings that NBC used to enjoy on Thursday nights.
Comparisons to Friends will be inevitable, given that The Class centers around a group of twenty-something acquaintances reunited by a singular event — in this case, an engagement party. Seems Ethan (played by Jason Ritter, John Ritter's son) met the love of his life, JoAnne, in the third grade. Romantic that he is, he tracks down his third grade classmates and invites them to his wedding announcement party.
The problem is that twenty years later, those classmates are nothing as he remembers them to be. They've all grown up — Kat is cynical, her sister Lena is loopy, and neither of them even remember Ethan. Nicole was dumped by Duncan, who discovered he was gay on their prom night. And then there's Richie, the suicidal depressive whose attempts at killing himself are inevitably interrupted by a phone call.
Sure, it sounds all a bit contrived at first glance, but this is a pilot, after all. And the key to comedy is incongruity. Before the episode is done, subplots are set in motion, and motivations are fleshed out. And it's all done in dialogue that weaves between hilarious and poignant.
The Class is a very witty little comedy that has a lot of potential. I'd check it out if I were you.