Thursday, October 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Unicorn' - Wade Doesn't Understand the New Rules of Relationships in 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do'

CBS' The Unicorn - Episode 1.02 "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"

Wade suddenly finds himself in a "relationship" he has no interest in when he has trouble turning down a second date. Also, Wade tries to understand when Grace struggles with her social media posts.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS' The Unicorn.

"Breaking Up is Hard to Do" was written by Bill Martin and directed by John Hamburg

This episode continues to highlight just how sweet and sincere Wade can be. Sure, he is completely naive and confused about the realities of modern-day dating. However, his loving sweetness is very endearing and charming. It helps make him a delightful and accessible leading man. There have been plenty of shows that have tried to mine comedy from the absurdity of dating. This show embodies a similar approach as well by focusing on people who have been out of the scene for awhile now. Many of the main characters are in long-lasting and loving relationships. Wade is only starting to date again because his wife died. It's something he is willing to do. He just feels a little stunted as well because of this massive tragedy that happened. He goes through his life not wanting to hurt anyone. He perceives any action as being the precise thing that could cause pain to someone else. As such, he always wants to be the nice guy who lets people do whatever they want. He and his friends agree that he doesn't have a connection with the new woman he goes on multiple dates with here. However, he simply doesn't know how to get out of it without feeling the burden of tragedy that comes from breakups. This isn't a serious relationship though. Everyone wants to make it into a big thing. He becomes Facebook friends with her and they are in near constant contact via social media and various online games. They may only have two or three dates but Wade sees all of this as an obligation and proof that things have quickly gotten serious. That's how easily relationships can form nowadays. There is the potential to be in touch with one another all the time. As such, there are various codes and rules that Wade doesn't understand. His naivety is the point of the comedy. But he never comes across as a buffoon who makes ridiculous mistakes just to earn a laugh for the audience and not from any of the characters in this world with him. Sure, his date sees him as this incredibly funny and charming man. He's trying to talk about the details of his life. They aren't always funny. That's how he knows this connection isn't real. In the end, it isn't. She never saw it as something serious. She was having fun. He doesn't need to stress out about the breakup. She is going to be fine regardless. The best part of dating can come from two people feeling the exact same way. That is so invigorating when it comes to love. Two people crave that kind of connection. But it can also be understandable when two people know they just aren't the right match. That is freeing in a way too. Wade just has to have the confidence to talk about it and be open with his feelings. He may have grown up in a different time but these are the rules that currently dictate his life. So much of modern dating is built around sex and hook ups as well. Michelle knows she can't leave her sister alone with Wade. She would destroy him. That wouldn't be helpful to anyone. It's important to prop Wade up with the confidence he needs to live his life once more. It's all about trying to feel normal and loved. That's the feeling Wade is chasing. It's what his daughter, Grace, wants as well. Sure, he may not understand the impulse to post the same social media content as all of her peers. However, he doesn't stand in her way after he knows what's going on. He even gets in on the fun as well. He is such a solid father to his daughters. That too is an overwhelming quality of the show upfront. The dating humor may come and go in effectiveness across the season. But the relationships amongst the characters needs to remain strong. So far, they continue to do so which helps this ensemble feel like actual friends and family. Sure, the supporting characters are mostly asked to provide brief laughs instead of carrying their own stories. And yet, that works for now because of the strength that comes from Wade at the center.