During last year’s upfronts, one of the projects that immediately caught my eye was NBC’s Love Bites, an hour-long romantic comedy anthology that was to be Becki Newon’s return to TV after her four year stint on Ugly Betty. From reading press releases and checking out promo material, it seemed like a smart, sincere show about love told in an interesting format.
Unfortunately, the show seemed to be pretty doomed from the beginning, shifting to midseason for Newton’s pregnancy, having its episode order slashed from 13 to 9, being left off the midseason schedule (along with The Paul Reiser Show and Friends with Benefits), and originally being left off the summer schedule before a last minute slot on Thursdays at 10:00.
But was it worth the wait?
I have to say, I really enjoyed the premiere and I’m down to watch the rest of the series. What immediately stands out about the show is its format, as the premiere was three interlinking stories with a common theme (tonight’s was ‘first’with plots involving virginity, being fired, and cheating exemptions) and some similar cast members. The anthology series is very unique to American television and it works well for the type of show Love Bites tries to be, as having the three connected stories highlights the themes of interpersonal interconnectedness that the show hinted at in its first episode. It helped to fully realize the world of the show and while the tone of Love Bites was pretty cohesive, having that many different stories and voices just made for a cool watch.
The cast, though, sold it to me lock, stock, and barrel. The writing may be pretty good and the vibe of the show may work well, but in the span of an hour, we got to see Newton be magnetic and mesmerizing, Krysten Ritter be witty and interesting, Greg Grunberg be kind and charmingly awkward, and Jennifer Love Hewitt be natural and endearing, as well as entertaining performances from Pamela Adlon, Steve Howey, Lindsay Price, Kyle Howard, and Craig Robinson. While several of the cast tonight are one shot deals, Newton and Grunberg are among the main cast, so we’ll get to see their arc as well as see how that fits in with the guest stars.
Love Bites was definitely worth the wait, at least to me. While it would have been nice to see the show premiere during the ‘regular’season and possibly come back for another go around (considering how much of the primary cast are in new pilots/shows, I don’t see this sticking around past the nine episodes, which is a shame), Love Bites feels like a fun, breezy summer show that can make you giggle just as easily as make you think about aspects of your love life that you may not want to confront. If I were to think of something remotely similar to Love Bites, it would probably be a movie like New York, I Love You, another urban-set cornucopia of couple’s issues with a solid cast. However, there’s really nothing else like Love Bites on TV these days, which makes it a must-try for anyone in love or simply wanting to relive the butterflies.
Did you watch Love Bites tonight? If you did, what did you think of it?