Accidentally on Purpose is Getting Too Serious

Whoa. I haven't checked in on Accidentally on Purpose for a few episodes, and look what happened: Zach (Jon Foster) proposed to Billie (Jenna Elfman) and met her parents, Abby (Lennon Parham) spilled the sex of the baby, Davis (Nicolas Wright) pretended to be Dave Grohl's brother, and James (Grant Show) got fired and asked Billie to run away with him. Billie has to make some big life choices soon—she still hasn't given Zach an answer and she's not sure if she's losing her job. It seems like the Accidentally on Purpose writers have made big decisions, too—but not necessarily the right ones.

I've liked this show from the start, mostly because of its supporting cast. But I've also admired its treatment of relationships—early on, Billie and Zach established that they were committed to the baby even though they weren't necessarily committed to each other. Theirs was a unique, mature situation, completely different from anything else on television. The writers were free to explore the comedy of dating, and as a result, many of the show's funniest jokes came from the romantic foibles that the two experienced independently, she as the knocked-up cougar and he as the twentysomething daddy-to-be. (Guest star David Sutcliffe as Brian was my favorite—he needs to come back and sweep Billie off her feet!)

Now that Billie and Zach are together, they hoarde the sitcom's dramatic moments, leaving the supporting characters to pick up the comedy slack. If the show isn't careful, it could end up relying on its supporting cast for all the humor. Even though Parham et al are very talented, their characters are one-dimensional. They're meant solely for comic relief: Abby nervous-laughs her way through every scene, Davis doesn't have a serious bone in his body, and Olivia (Ashley Jensen) makes everything funnier with her Scottish accent. If one of these gimmicky characters spouted a gut-wrenching dramatic line, it would be problematic. That's why Elfman and Foster are the stars.

I understand why the Accidentally on Purpose folks paired up the parents. AOP airs on CBS, which is a corporation, which is supposed to appeal to the masses, who would prefer that the baby mommy and baby daddy get married. Something about American values. I just hope that the show doesn't swallow itself whole with intense relationship drama. Billie and Zach have a complex relationship as is, and pairing them up in the TV world does not bode well for their future as a TV couple—or the show's future, either.

At the very least, we can hope for a cameo from Dave Grohl.

What did you think of the show so far?

Follow writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

Comments (2)
Sort: Latest | Popular
Feb 15, 2010
In real life, the baby daddy didn't propose and the woman didn't want him to. I'm okay with the sort-of engagement--I want to see the other aspects of the relationship work out. (Like making room for Zack's stuff in Attack epi) But I agree, if they do get a second season, it's going to be about Bringing Up Baby, which might mean building a whole new audience. I do think they have a grand scheme in mind, so I'm willing to trust Claudia et al...for now.
Jan 24, 2010
It's based on a woman's memoirs so it's not like the writers are just making stuff up