The comedy is based on a group of twentysomething friends going through life together, with each thinking the other has it much better than they do.
Here’s what you need to know about the CBS series premiering on March 31.
1. People Are Calling It a ‘Friends’ Copycat
The creator of the series, Dana Klein, worked on Friends as a producer and writer.
Both shows revolve around six friends thrown together in different stages of their lives.
The L.A. Times blasted the series for its lack of originality:
This “Friends (etc.)” is ultimately a version of that earlier show, like many that followed. Indeed, it seems no coincidence that “Friends With Better Lives” is coming to the air at the very moment that the network’s long-running “How I Met Your Mother” breathes its last.
Klein explained the show’s premise to Metro:
The show examines friendship through that ‘grass is always greener’ lens. I mean, I can barely open my computer without feeling like I failed in a million different ways. Someone’s got the perfect family, the perfect kids, the perfect job, the perfect body. It’s human nature to want what we don’t have.
2. The Times Said It Should Be Called ‘Friends With Genitals’
Most outlets seem to agree that the show has way too many sex jokes.
The New York Times, for one, was disappointed with the quality of the dialogue.
The Times said that show should be renamed because it would be “better to reflect what its characters spend most of their time talking about.”
The paper went on to berate the characters’ dryness:
It’s about six uninteresting young people in one of those group friendships that exist primarily on television, in which they are constantly together and communicate mostly through one-liners.
USA Today agreed about the overuse of sexual innuendos, describing it as “one witless, thudding, sex-obsessed crack after another, from an opening joke about sitting on a carrot to another friend’s discussion of her various dates’ penile problems.”
The Washington Post also weighed in, saying, “jokes about testicles or breast-pumping or oral sex have been specially calibrated to walk right up to someone’s line of decency but not over it.”
3. James Van Der Beek Is the Bright Spot
— Friendsw/BetterLives (@fwblCBS) March 24, 2014
The Dawson’s Creek alum seems to be getting the best reviews overall. As Will Stokes, he has just been dumped by his wife and is living in his best friend’s house.
USA Today talked about his success with the role:
While Van Der Beek puts his material across with enough charm and skill to make you think his move from drama to sitcoms could turn out to be a wise one.
The TV Guide Magazine asked about his foray into comedy. He said:
If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would probably have said no way. But I have a lot of fun with it. And the live-audience thing is kind of cool because it keeps you honest.
4. The Married Couple on the Show Loves ‘Homeland’
The NY Post reported on the irony of that fact, since Homeland is on CBS’ sister station, Showtime.
The couple in question are Bobby, played by Kevin Connolly, and Andi, played by Majandra Delfino, who are about to have their second child.
Connolly admitted to the Huffington Post that this show is actually dirtier than his other series, Entourage.
This show in its own way is a little more risky than Entourage in a sense. Honestly, I’d be more comfortable with my nieces watching Entourage than this Some of the subject matters we deal with are just adult matters. It’s different because it’s on CBS so a lot of it is implied but it’s definitely still on the racy side. It’s a different set of rules.
5. Brooklyn Decker Said Shooting the Pilot Was The Most Nervous She’s Ever Been at Work
Ex-supermodel Decker landed her first leading role in a comedy series. She plays Jules, who has just gotten engaged to Lowell, played by Rick Donald.
In an interview with Zap2it, she said,
When we were shooting the pilot, it was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been going into a job. I was shaking and sweating, and my teeth were chattering.
Decker told the Daily News that her plan was always to pursue acting:
I set out to go into acting.And this show is great, because I love comedy. I don’t know if I was considered ‘funny’ when I was growing up. … People who have known me for a while would always be really surprised when I would, like, tell a dirty joke.
From the looks of her Instagram post, filming the show has been enjoyable for her.