So far this season we reviewed two half hour romantic comedies such as Selfie and Manhattan Love Story and neither has been completely satisfying. After watching a couple of extra episodes of Selfie it is better than I originally thought. And I still have hopes for Manhattan but to paraphrase Star Wars “Those aren’t the rom-coms you are looking for.” However if the initial episode is any indication and you are looking for a good romantic comedy, “A to Z” starring Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti might fit the bill. You might recognize Feldman from 30 episodes of Mad Men or 38 episodes of Drop Dead Diva neither of which I watched.
Like many shows we reviewed, it has a gimmick. Actually a couple of them. First of all the main characters are named Andrew and Zelda hence the title “A to Z”. The title gimmick also plays into the names of each episode and presumably the total number of episodes. Each episode is a letter from A-Z such as “A is for Acquaintance” and “B is for Big Glory” and “C is for Curiouser and Curiouser”. Presumably there will be 26 episodes although this list on IMDb.com only has through “E”. Also an opening voiceover declares “Andrew Lofland and Zelda Vasco will date for eight months, three weeks, five days, and one hour. This television program is the comprehensive account of their relationship from A to Z.”
The plot starts with a chance meeting between the two main characters but then we reveal that perhaps they had met before and that their meeting was “destiny”. This is not a new theme for Cristin Milioti because she was the infamous “Mother” on “How I Met Your Mother“. We had said previously that the only standard by which we judge a sitcom is whether or not it’s funny. Similarly for a romantic comedy it has the dual task of being both funny and romantic. This one seems to deliver. Maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for stories where “we were destined for each other” is the theme. But the chemistry between the two is real and the show has a reasonable number of laughs.
I had previously compared Manhattan Love Story to one of my favorite romantic comedy TV shows “Mad about You”. This show is a much better comparison to that story. It also favorably compares to the romantic parts of HIMYM without all of the over-the-top comedy which at times ruined that show.
On my rating system this one gets a “I like It”. However you have to be in the mood for a romantic comedy and buy into the destiny plot. I do.