As the couples-in-the-making circle one another, this show is growing on me. Last week, we saw good girl Liv falling for the super adorable British guy Ron (who originally showed up at the bar as single mom Jessica’s blind date). Her wedding invites go out tomorrow, but that doesn’t stop her from taking off her ring to indulge in a night of heavy flirtation. This week, Bruce makes his moves on Jessica. At first, he thinks it’s going to be easy: “Single mothers are so, so, easy. They’re tired, they’re horny — all they want to do is knock it out with someone who vaguely resembles a man, and then go home.”
But Jessica is having none of it, and cuts him down with withering assessment of him as a guy, “ Who couldn’t get any girls in high school so now you bang as many chicks as humanly possible so you can convince yourself that you’re not that sad little dork who none of the girls liked. Am I getting close?” She is, as we learn through a flashback to Bruce’s traumatic childhood as the ugly redhead to his adorable tow-headed older brothers.
Instead of turning him off, this of course has the immediate effect of making Bruce desperate to have her. Meanwhile, Liv and Ron continue to flirt. But her conscience must be getting to her, because she fishes her engagement ring out of her pocket and shows it to him. He looks at the diamond ring and says, “Well, yes! I know this is all so sudden, but I feel it too!” She says no, I’m engaged. He says “Of course you are. Women of your caliber are never single.” She says she feels weird being out with a dashing internet millionaire while her fiance is at home waiting for her and bathing their cats. Ron reminds her that as of this morning, he is no longer a millionaire. She says well, she wishes she had that much money to lose. Ron asks her, aren’t cats self-cleaning animals? He is beyond cute and it’s hard to blame Liv when she kisses him.
Jessica’s bitchy friend, Fab, (we learned last week that they were best friends who planned on moving to Paris together to start a fashion line until Jessica got pregnant by accident) walks over to where Bruce is still trying to make something happen. She basically tells Jessica not to blow him off because that’s the best she’s going to do: “He’s not that ugly. You two would make a really cute couple.”
Bruce knows she is trying to make Jessica feel bad, and lets her have it: “Actually, I was talking to her about you. You have ratty hair and terrible clothes and I figure I could take you down without breaking a sweat. But a woman like this — that’s a totally different story. Someone who’s gorgeous and smart and funny and who not only puts us all to shame by raising two kids on her own but then has the balls to show up to this bar wearing this red dress which she looks smoking hot in — knowing that losers like me are going to hit on her all night but she doesn’t care because she has the wit and verbal acumen to handle anything life throws at her — that is a woman. That is a woman that this guy couldn’t get in a million years.”
Something in Jessica shifts. She’s not into him, but there’s an opening. At the end of the episode, she tells Bruce “If at the end of the night there is absolutely no one left in this bar and I am fall down drunk and you have somehow shaved off that disgusting beard and changed your entire physical appearance I will think about maybe going home with you. Maybe.” Okay, it might not be true love, but it’s a start.
Even though some of the dialogue is somewhat misogynist (they are going after the How I Met Your Mother/Barney’s bro code thing), and even though there’s a snark and cynicism to some of the writing, there is a tremendous sweetness in the acting that makes it all work. Personally, I’m feeling a little invested in the budding attractions and will keep tuning in. Let me know if you’re watching and what you think.