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ABC (ended 2014)

Mixology S01E01: "Tom and Maya"


ABC's newest comedy Mixology, which follows the adventures of ten single people over the course of one evening at a bar, is a messy cocktail of stereotypical characters, shallow jokes, and a rather problematic format. And yet the series is actually perfectly watchable, though possibly only as a show you leave on in the background while you're doing the dishes or cleaning out the litter box. I think the key is to go in with low standards and even lower expectations—which, hey, also describes at least two of the show's main characters! In fact, here's the show in a nutshell: 


Mixology certainly isn't pretending to be something it's not, but it's also not really trying to be much of anything. It exists because it exists; I'm not sure it has a real destination in mind. Given the series' one-night-only premise, there won't be much real time for character development—so even though I suspect that we're going to be seeing several characters change their minds about love, life, and everything else over the course of the series, I don't think it'll ever feel genuine. 

That's not to say that events and experiences that take place in a bar can't change a person's life; however, I'd wager that the ones that do generally involve a night spent in jail or the creation of a tiny human. I'll give Mixology credit for attempting to break the standard comedy mold by setting the series over the course of a single evening, but if there's one thing that How I Met Your Mother's final season has taught us, it's that such a compact storytelling structure can damage a show's foundation. HIMYM has managed to get by simply because it's in its ninth and final season and has a loyal following; fans might occasionally grumble about the rather silly nature of the 23-episodes-in-one-weekend set-up, but they're ultimately going to stick with the show until the end. Without that established audience, Mixology is taking a much bigger risk. 

That means it's particularly important for Mixology's characters to be immediately compelling; sadly, I'm not exactly sure who will care about them enough, after a one-episode encounter, to stick around for their respective journeys. The cast is large and made up of relatively unknown actors (save for Vanessa Lengies, I suppose; some viewers will recognize her as Glee's Sugar Motta or Hawthorne's Kelly Epson) and nothing that transpired in the pilot was super memorable. Pretty much every role has a stock character quality; for example, Blake Lee's Tom—the focus of the episode—just got dumped by his fiancee after an eight-year relationship because she could no longer stand how nice he was. That, and she also thought he looked like a beaver. Tom was dragged to the bar by his two best friends, Cal (Craig Frank) and Bruce (Andrew Santino), both of whom believe they know a lot about sex and women, but I get the distinct feeling that their characters have less sex than anyone else. It doesn't get much more unique that that, folks!


As a trio, Tom, Cal, and Bruce belong in a Judd Apatow movie from five years ago. And while I'm a fan of Apatow's films and the immature nature of many of their protagonists, Bruce and Cal are simple caricatures with no redeeming qualities. They kind of seem like a cheap knock-off of New Girl's Schmidt, and I don't have any interest in following their exploits, especially for multiple episodes—there are only so many obvious, raunchy jokes to be made, you know? Already, I feel like if I hear Bruce use the word smash as a verb meaning "to have sex with a woman" one more time, I will smash my fist into his face so hard I'll knock out Cal. I'm not the type of gal who's easily offended by jokes about women or having sex with women, but so far, Mixology's humor is tired and old, and Mixology's world is one where most of the female characters are really poor sketches of what men think women should be. We've seen/heard it all before—and it was better.


If Mixology wants to find success as a network comedy—and I truthfully don't feel like it'll have the chance because of its format and its shallowness—it needs to give its characters some depth beyond just the very clear-cut stereotypes they are now. As of the premiere, it's pretty clear that they haven't evolved much beyond the general outlines the writers probably drafted when they were first developing the series. In addition to the Douche Duo and their nice-guy friend, there's a cold-hearted lawyer (Ginger Gonzaga) who prides herself on her bitchiness because she was raised by a father who wanted a son, a single mother (Alexis Carra) who believes she's running out of time to find a suitable husband, a ditzy waitress (Lengies) who's sleeping with the bartender (Adan Canto) who doesn't even remember her name, two perfectly fine female sidekicks (Frankie Shaw and Kate Simses), and a token British man (Adam Campbell). 

Mixology will use flashbacks to give us a glimpse at its characters' backstories and what brought them to the bar in the first place, but from what I've seen (ABC posted the first two episodes online before the premiere, and made the first three available to critics), the series only uses them as a way to reinforce stereotypes instead of adding depth. If you don't care about character development or progression, Mixology is a perfectly fine way to kill half an hour, because it clearly doesn't mind coming off as shallow and trivial.  If you simply want a series to fall asleep to that requires little to no brain power to follow, then I can say with 100 percent certainty Mixology is it. But if you want a comedy with direction and purpose, I'd look elsewhere.


What'd you think of Mixology's series premiere? Will you be back for Episode 2?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/21/2014

Season 1 : Episode 13

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Wow, harsh review Kaitlin, I actually quite enjoyed it myself, and am eagerly anticipating the next episode.

It will be interesting to see how the series deals with its 'one night' concept as it continues, as it could lead to several problems like you mentioned, but I thought it worked well in the pilot.

You can't really expect all 10 characters to be fully realised in the first episode, so I'm willing to actually wait and see how they're developed. I actually found Maya quite refreshing, particularly as she'll undoubtedly be playing one half of the series' core couple. Tom was a little bland, but like I said, I'll reserve my judgement for now, and I was surprised that I actually didn't mind Bruce (I thought I wouldn't be able to tolerate his character. I also see a lot of potential in Maya's co-worker/ friend, she pulled the most laughs for me.

I'd be curious to know what comedies you think have 'direction and purpose' Kaitlin, since you feel the need to say Mixology lacks that important aspect in its first episode. Isn't the main purpose of comedies to make you laugh? They're not serialised dramas that have a set plot to unfold.
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Horrible, trite show. The reviewer was right about almost everything except in saying that it was slightly watchable. Caricatured characters, trite, tired humor, and a trying to too hard to be hip element that has all but sunk NEW GIRL in my opinion. Cool all episodes in one night conceit wasted. I'm sorry, but whatever happened to credibility? Even the wackiest of great comedies (Scrubs and Modern Family come to mind) had situations and characters you could actually believe could exist in real life and none of this show is even remotely real, from the puse puking to the way nobody but two people seem to be working (and not very hard) on an obviously slammed weekend night. I'm sorry to be so harsh but I do hope this is cancelled soon as if it's a hit, it will be giving more producers the wrong idea of what's good television these days.
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I only watched because of Vanessa Lengies. I don't know if I'll drop it or not cause I wasn't impressed. Also hate the red head douche.
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I actually laughed more than I meant to. I think that Maya is my spirit Animal and I am going to give the show a chance just because of her.
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all I can think now is how awesome the genious of Kaitlin Thomas is.
about the show; I think I actually found the show when I was trolling for something shallow and mind numbing so looking at it from that point of view, I'd say they've hit the mark.
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It's a pretty harmless show. Some cute lines (Sarah Wright's delivery of "I hate your face" was pretty great) nothing amazing but I'd watch again if nothing else was on.
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I am getting so sick of ABC's horrible scheduling decisions ruining great shows, and most of them have been comedies! (Happy Endings, Apt 23) Now instead of airing a compatible comedy after Modern Family (Hmm a show about a modern and non-conventional family, I wonder what show that could have been?? TROPHY WIFE) They air a non funny show about awkward women trying to be 'cool' (SFN) and a non funny show about stereotypical twentysomethings trying to get laid at a bar (Mixology). while Trophy Wife is rotting away on Tuesdays and it's ratings aren't that good enough for a renewal. Well If ABC just actually tried to make shows successful by airing a Middle/Goldbergs/Modern Family/Trophy Wife block on Wednesdays, not even airing SFN and Mixology at all, and having BITG and Suburgatory air on tuesdays, ABC would have maybe probably had 2 new successful shows on their hands. ughh
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Cancel it already!
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I've watched both of the episodes that have been released and I really liked it! The douchy redheaded guy I could have done without, but I liked all the other people and I'mm looking forward to the next episode
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I quite enjoyed the first episode. In this type of show you probably need to like the two main leads to enjoy that particular episode. I liked the two main leads from the pilot but I am not sure about the second episode. I am already not very fond of the drunk British guy.

This show reminds me of Dates. An excellent British dramedy from last year which stars Game of Thrones Oona Chaplin. I do not think this is as good but I will give it a few more episodes.
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I'm still not sure about the british guy either. Is he a douche? Sure seems like it. And yet, he seems nice as well. I'm conflicted.
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He was a good actor on Harper's Island.
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Whom? Regardless - the acter can be good and the character suck (or be a douche)
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Adam Campbell, played the likeable foreigner-on-the-edge-of-the-group character, Cal, on Harper's Island, at least until he was murdered and thrown off a bridge.
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So this show is only for cat ladies Kaitlin?
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I usually give a new show at least a watch or two but the only mildly positive thing I can say about the 8 minutes watched were that instead of having a bunch of cliched females bashing on males, they swapped the genders. If that's your type of innovation, you may like this POS.
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I'm surprised by all the hate being directed towards this show. Most reviews I see are pretty lackluster. You're right, the characters aren't necessarily compelling, but they're likeable enough. This is a show that exists through rapidfire jokes and it's actually pretty funny. Sure, it's shallow and a bit immature, but brainless comedy can be okay sometimes if done right. I think Mixology works and I think I'll only grow to like it more over the next few weeks as we get to know these characters more.

Here's my review: http://www.untemperedtv.com/?p=465
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There's something distasteful and mercenary about coming here to advertise your competing website. I wouldn't visit you in a million years because of a move like that. If you want to comment on the show and have the users here see it, comment here, but don't slap your bumper sticker on it.
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Not laugh-out-loud funny, but entertaining if you're bored. It's very vanilla, and at only half hour an episode (smart decision) it manages to avoid being bland. I like the nice guy and bitchy lawyer and her friend, so I guess I'll keep watching.
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I like the title.
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Thats all too bad.
That is just a waste of space, time, and money which could have gone towards a GOOD show.
Maybe it is just me...but it seems like there are more and more of these type of shows anymore.
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I didnt think it was very funny. Out of all the characters I kinda liked Tom and Maya, but Im not invested enough to continue watching. Imo the bar setting is gonna get really old really fast.
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I've seen the firt two episodes and I can guess what the next three will be like. The first two focus on one guy and one girl and tell us how they came to be the present state they are in. The back stories don't particularly make you like the character, it just tries to make these token phoney characters seem believable. The problem is they chose too big of an ensemble cast (5 guys, 5 girls), and if it runs only 13 episodes, it will be about halfway through the season before it finishes the introductions to the full cast. With ten people in the main cast, and focusing on two different characters a day, the show will be over before they developed any depth or develope any likability. So unless they quickly change the format, I can't see this show being on for long.
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It Wasn't that bad and I kind of like the "douches" so...
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'Human Creation.' A meme is born. Meme creation. Wait a minute...
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Awful, and no for the love of God, no thank you.
ABC please invest your money in something with more substance.
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