Tuesday, November 25, 2014

REVIEW: 'About a Boy' - Will is Jealous and Fiona is Smitten by Marcus' New Teacher in 'About a Balcony'

NBC's About a Boy - Episode 2.06 "About a Balcony"

A popular new teacher, Mr. Chris, casts Marcus as Romeo in the school production of notable Shakespeare scenes. Threatened by Mr. Chris' growing relationship with Marcus, Will tries to impress them with the construction of the balcony set for his scene. Elsewhere, Fiona becomes a fan of Mr. Chris as well.

About a Boy's two major focuses this season - Will's financial issues and Marcus' crush on Shay - take the week off in "About a Balcony." Instead this episode is almost all about opening up a new story for Fiona, as Marcus' new teacher Mr. Chris becomes a new love interest for her. I'm grateful that the show is finally presenting a viable long-term companion for that character. She can only be wacky so many times before the character is completely and ridiculously ruined. She deserves some happiness too. It could actually be really sweet seeing her be happy while Will and Marcus are dealing with major changes in their lives.

However, this introductory plot beat for Fiona is often at the expense of both Will and Marcus. Will buys a hundred breakable prop bottles with little concern on what the purchase will mean to his finances and then suffers no consequences in the end at all. Additionally, Will is at his most childish when it comes to seeing Marcus' blossoming new relationship with Mr. Chris. Marcus has a tendency to take things too far. I was cringing last week when he was stalking his crush and the crush ultimately thought it was cute. No, it was creepy. And now, his over-enthusiasm over Mr. Chris is going too far as well. It's obvious that Chris seems to be exaggerating his stories. Marcus would rather help prop him up and be amazed then to truly think about all the stuff Chris says he has done. So Marcus is idolizing the new teacher and Will is jealous of that in the most petty way possible. It's all a result of Marcus rather spending time memorizing his lines for a school project than watching The Three Stooges with Will. That, in turn, makes Will go overboard with the construction of the balcony set for Marcus' little snippet of William Shakespeare.

Everything about the main story of this episode is pushing things way too far. Will and Andy make this extremely large set piece that the teenage girl playing Juliet doesn't want to go up in. Isn't it a lot of work for something that doesn't effect Marcus all that much? To make matters worse, Fiona decides to step into the role - which leads Marcus to no longer wanting to do it and be associated as the star-crossed lovers with his mother. Wacky hijinks ensue out on the stage as Fiona, Chris and Will have to deal with a set that is falling apart. It doesn't work as character based comedy nor as physical comedy.

The only really rewarding bit about the introduction of Mr. Chris to this universe is Fiona trying to determine if the dynamic the two share is real or not. Dakota also returns this week and is a bit wackier than last we saw her - for better and worse. She points out the possibility of Chris being a romantic interest and that sends Fiona spiraling a little bit. It's nice seeing Fiona as a woman more than just an oddity. That's something the show has struggled with as of late. It's a nice reminder of what the character is capable of - even though her franticly screaming as the set around her is crumbling wasn't that great. But hey, she got the kiss in the end. So, there will definitely be more stories about her and Chris soon. I just hope they'll be better and more relevant to the rest of the show.

Some more thoughts:
  • "About a Balcony" was written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger and directed by Patrick Norris.
  • To make Will seem more childish and Marcus seem more oblivious, Shay has to point out what is going on to Marcus and only after that is he able to see that Will is acting childishly.
  • Also, I would much rather go out for pizza with classmates than go back to Will's place to watch The Three Stooges.
  • I'm also with Fiona when it comes to not understanding what's funny about The Three Stooges.