Thursday, November 5, 2020

REVIEW: 'B Positive' - Drew Needs a Kidney Transplant and May Find a Donor in a Former High School Classmate in 'Pilot'

CBS' B Positive - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Drew is a therapist and newly divorced dad who is faced with finding a kidney donor when he runs into Gina, a rough-around-the-edges woman from his past who volunteers her own. Together, they form an unlikely and life-affirming friendship, as they begin a journey that will forever affect both of their lives.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of CBS' B Positive.

"Pilot" was written by Marco Pennette and directed by James Burrows

Drew is in renal failure. He needs a kidney transplant. Former high school classmate Gina returns into his life and offers him hers. Hilarity and uncertainty ensure. That is the basic premise of this new sitcom. That's all the premiere really has time to establish. The characters aren't all that dimensional just yet. It has to spend the majority of its time convincing the audience that this is a sensible thing for all involved to do. Leanne has the right reaction in being confused as to why Gina is doing this for someone who is essentially a stranger to her. Of course, the audience is also asked to see Leanne in a broad light. Gina and Leanne are rambunctious best friends who delight in sharing drugs with one another and are inherently selfish. They understand each other. That's what makes their friendship work. Gina is doing a selfless action for Drew's benefit. She views it as the reason for her to still be alive. That is dark and dire. It suggests depth that the show will need to amply explore moving forward. Gina is aimless. She feels purpose in her job as a bus driver for senior citizens in a retirement community. She uplifts them in her own special way. And yet, she is still surrounded by death every single day. That must weight on her. It's how she is able to infer that something is going on with Drew. Again, it's the broad way to force these characters together for this basic premise. Gina offers her kidney to Drew while drunk. She even associates a different personality when she is in that state too. That may not paint her in the most flattering light. She is dysfunctional and doesn't really have her life together. That puts her in sharp contrast to Drew. He is a man with a career and a family. He spent years building those up. Of course, not everything is working out for him. He is divorced and his teenage daughter mostly views him as acting weird all the time. He is choosing not to tell them about his recent diagnosis. That too is dangerous because they can't help him carry the burden of this life-changing decision. He has no one in his life who can help him through this difficult time. He has to ask his doctor for a kidney. That's how desperate and hopeless he actually is. He has no meaningful friendships. That's what makes him willing to latch so fiercely onto Gina's offer. It means he is completely distraught over realizing she may not take the necessary steps of sobriety seriously enough in order to do it. He wants to be there for her in this journey. They will be bonded together because of the sacrifices this will entail. And yet, he is annoyed that she can't go one day without getting high and drinking. That is alarming. She wants to uphold her promise. She may not be trusted to do so. In the meantime, Drew has to fight to survive. This is serious for him. The pressure isn't extreme enough for him to let his family in on what's going on. He's lucky that Gina happens to be a match for him. He still spirals over the thought that his body will reject the organ. He is inherently pessimistic and anxious. The show wants to be an odd couple setup in that way. Gina and Drew both need something from each other. A kidney brings them together. However, their friendship will allow them to live more fulfilling and rewarding lives. That is simple. And yet, the show almost has to be that at this point in order to offer something to the audience. It's not particularly deep. It may be difficult to see how the show develops into something more than these basics. The premise may be important in some episodes and not others. The cast is stacked with talented people who are deserving of strong material. They can handle the dramatic and the comedic. That is only glimpsed here. More will be necessary in order for this show to join the rotation of hit sitcoms from producer Chuck Lorre. At the moment, it's just too small without adding much specificity to the world or the characters. Again, the pedigree of the talent behind the scenes and in front of the camera has earned a bit of time for the show to find its specific rhythms and interests. Viewers may have more time to wait for something more rewarding to blossom at this particular moment with few entertainment options. And yet, it still needs some more urgency to really become worthy of regular viewership.