Monday , March 4 2024
Does The Ex List make my TiVo list?

Watching Television Pilots: CBS’s The Ex List

Have you ever seen those pictures of an apple that say "this is not an apple" underneath or those pictures of a pipe that say "this is not a pipe?" Well, this is not a review.

What this is is an opinion piece based upon the screener of The Ex List that CBS was kind enough to send me. As this show is not on the air it, it may still go through umpteen different format variations, tweaks, changes, etc., etc. Hence, my opinions of the series only hold true for the screener of the pilot I've watched. The moments that I like from the episode could be completely removed never to show up again, or, problems that I had with the pilot could wholly and completely be fixed, making this the single greatest TV show the world has ever known. The basic premise of the series will probably remain unchanged, however.

Okay, enough preamble. The Ex List, slated to air on CBS Fridays at 9pm this fall stars Elizabeth Reaser as smart, sexy, successful 30-something Bella Bloom who is, apparently, starting to feel her biological clock ticking away. Bella wants to get married, she just does. At her sister Daphne's (Rachel Boston) bachelorette party she sits down with a psychic (Anne Nahabedian) who informs Bella that if she doesn't marry in the next year she'll never get married. And, that the person she's going to marry is someone who she's already dated.

From that point, the hunt is on for this ex-boyfriend whom Bella is destined to marry. Along the way, she gets advice from the psychic, her sister, and her cadre of friends, all of whom have their own helpful little smart-alecky quips and quirks. One of the B-storylines in the pilot deals with one of her friends, Vivian (Alex Breckenridge), getting a full Brazilian wax and her boyfriend (another of Bella's good friends naturally, this one played by Adam Rothenberg) being less than amused with the change. As for Bella and the A-storyline, in the pilot it involves her meeting with a past boyfriend (hysterically portrayed by Eric Balfour in what, hopefully, will be a recurring role) and trying to determine if he is the one.

The basic assumption I'm running with is that every episode, at least in the first season, will feature Bella re-meeting one of her old boyfriends on a weekly basis until she discovers who the right one is (my money is on her most recent ex). The rest of her friends meanwhile will have their own ups and downs but mainly be there to help Bella with her list.

That's all well and good, and the pilot is certainly funny enough, but I'm certainly not the intended audience (what with me being a guy and all). The pilot did do enough to keep me interested and watching, but that was mainly due to her ex of the week. The episode also featured the women repeatedly wearing bikinis and other revealing outfits on a regular basis, which may be another way of enticing men to watch, but I don't see it getting added to my TiVo list. The real question, in my mind, is whether there will be any backlash against the series for it depicting a wonderful woman who simply doesn't feel complete without a man. Such a topic in no way bothers me, but, again, I'm a guy (and a happily married one).

The Ex List certainly has enough going for it that it could be successful, the writing was amusing enough and the actors all young and good-looking. The show that airs before it, Ghost Whisperer, is female-skewing, and that's the intended audience for this show, so it's not a bid fit. I'm certainly curious enough about how they sustain the premise when Bella is told that she only has a year to find the guy.

In short, The Ex List, based solely upon my viewing of the pilot episode which may be altered in ways no one can dream of prior to the series' starting, is a definite maybe. 

The Ex List will air Friday nights at 9pm ET/PT on CBS.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

Check Also

BotCon: A Look Back at ‘Beast Wars: Transformers’

"You're not standing there doing a voice; you're doing a character."