TV's newest odd couple is a brother-sister duo: FOX's "Ben and Kate." He's stuck in adolescence; she grew up too fast and had a baby young. Together, they are warmly funny, illustrating a heartfelt message about family bonding.
In the Season 1 premiere, we meet the two as children hiding under a table to escape their parents' arguments. This scene returns as a leitmotif, reminding viewers of the quiet support these two give each other.
As adults, Kate Fox (Dakota Johnson) is a single mom working as a bartender, while Ben Fox (Nat Faxon) is a nomad of sorts, stopping through occasionally to ask for favors.
Kate is in the middle of a date with a hunky love interest when Ben bursts in with a hockey mask and admits he was trying to steal the neighbor's cable. The love interest, naturally, leaves but not before giving Ben a hesitant high-five that strikes Ben as suspicious.
Secondary characters are introduced in the bar. There is co-worker B.J. (Lucy Punch), an oversexed British barmaid whose solution to every problem is to use her feminine wiles. Ben's best friend, Tommy (Echo Kellum) is a would-be hipster in horn-rimmed glasses and a sky-high Afro, whose dead-pan delivery of lines underscores their ridiculousness.
We learn the real purpose for Ben's visit. After receiving a terse e-mail from his ex-girlfriend saying "Call me," he instead shows up in town only to discover she's getting married. Rather than calling her to discuss his feelings, he and Tommy plot to crash the wedding. Kate discovers this scheme while checking in on her daughter via nanny cam.
Reluctantly, Kate helps Ben rehearse a speech to give during the wedding ceremony to highlight what Kate calls his "2 or 3 percent" of good qualities.
Plans inevitably go awry, as the babysitter hired to take care of 5-year-old Maddie is so overbearing that Ben fires her and takes the daughter along with him instead. But while driving there, Kate butt-dials him, and Ben overhears his sister's date with her bearded love interest. Turns out he's a cad, so Ben turns around and confronts him, telling him, as part of the kiss-off, "Go to high-five school. Learn to high-five with yourself."
Touched that her brother changed his plans, Kate helps him crash the wedding. But rather than running off with his ex, a la "The Graduate," Ben must face the truth. He's lost her.
He hasn't, however, lost his sister, and in a poetic moment, they seek refuge under a table at the reception. Ben sums up: "We're like two peas in, like, the worst pod ever." He offers to stay with Kate to help take care of Maddie because they both have something to learn from the other.
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