Last December, Ground Floor arrived and proved that the multi-cam sitcom wasn’t completely dead yet. Charming, simple, and hilarious, Ground Floor was a combination of two things that haven’t worked well recently on television: romantic comedies and multi-camera sitcoms – which makes it even more impressive at how good it was during its first ten episodes, culminating in a terrific season finale that saw Brody and Jenny take the next step in their relationship, a move that also ends up getting Brody fired from the job of his dreams (in case you forgot, he goes on vacation to Paris rather than open a new office for Remington Trust in Hong Kong). After 11 months off the air, Ground Floor finally returned last night with “Unforgiven” – and even though it’s one of those “shake things up” season premieres, is still a welcome return to one of the year’s biggest (and given the lack of critical acclaim or attention, quietest) surprises.
Opening with a dream sequence in Brody’s head, “Unforgiven” isn’t an episode tethered to some serious existential discovery, or some melodramatic argument between Brody and Jenny over his decision not to tell her she got fired. Rather, Ground Floor uses Brody’s firing as a moment to realign the show, bringing the ground floor and top floor closer together when Brody takes a job working with Jenny in her office. As a premise for the season, it’s genius: the show’s smart enough to let us know that Mansfield’s anger towards Brody is a motivating tool, a lesson he’s teaching him about arrogance and assumption – and of course, trust, something he sacrificed when he chose to solidify it in his relationship with his girlfriend, rather than his mentor.
Plus, Brody’s new position at the bottom of Remington Trust will accomplish two things: allow us to interact with Jenny’s co-workers more (and in the process, filling out the show’s secondary roster, something it desperately needs to do beyond Threepeat and Harvard), and provide the first real test to Brody and Jenny’s relationship, something I was hoping the show would do this season. One of the thing I enjoyed about the first season was how strong the central relationship was: but a young couple able to solve so many superficial challenges last season, it will be nice to see how the show grows (or dissolves, though I hope that’s not the case) their love through a real, sustained conflict (like working together).
It’s hard to judge “Unforgiven” in a vacuum, though: as a season premiere, it mostly operates as a reset button, pushing every piece into its new place and standing back to admire the arrangement. Which is completely fine: “Unforgiven” is a funny episode that pulls the necessary strings to set up the nine episodes to follow in season two, without explicitly feeling like that’s what its doing. It still feels like that work isn’t quite complete yet – I’d like Jenny to have her own personal or professional conflict to solve this season, and we need someone with personality to replace Tori – but “Unforgiven” gets the season off to a solid, often hilarious (especially whenever Threepeat is on-screen) start.
Photo via TBS
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