Calling all comedy fans – listen up! After airing only four episodes of “Best Friends Forever,” NBC gave the heartwarming new series the dreaded premature axe.
Penned and performed with love by writer/actresses Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, the sitcom (directed and executive produced by Fred Savage) follows 30-something Jessica Black (St. Clair) as she scrambles to cope with an unexpected divorce by moving back in with her best friend Lennon White (Parham) and Lennon’s boyfriend Joe, (Luka Jones).
With its quick-witted banter and comedic chemistry reminiscent of Ethel and Lucy, “Best Friends Forever” garnered a loyal (and very vocal!) fan base during its unfortunately brief run, immediately spawning a #SAVEBFF Twitter campaign upon news of its cancellation.
Here’s where you come in, my beloved comedy connoisseurs: At 8 PM on Friday, affectionately dubbed “BFF Day” by the fans, not only will you get the chance to watch the final two unaired episodes, you can join in the effort to spark a ratings jump that will either a) cause NBC to give the show another chance, or B) catch the eye of another genius network who will jump in and demand more of Jessica and Lennon’s brilliance (e.g., how TBS swooped in to save “Cougar Town” after ABC pulled the plug).
For those of you who missed the first four shows (watch them on HULU now!), here are six (of roughly 752) reasons why “BFF” deserves to stay.
1) The Best Friend Factor
As real life best friends, comedy goddesses Jessica and Lennon – both alumni of the famed Upright Citizens Brigade – perfectly capture the chemistry/inside-jokiness/painfully honest bond forged only by true, time-tested friendship. It’s that hard-earned implicit trust where you can freely thrust a piece of gum into your BFF’s face while muttering, “This needs to happen,” or casually say, “Honey boo boo child, let me introduce you to a thing called facial hair bleach,” without the fear of any hard feelings.
By now, Jess and Lenn may have grown slightly weary of hearing, “OMG, your show is literally just like watching me and my best friend!!!” but I’m going say it again anyway, girls, so prepare yourselves.
My BFF happened to have early access to the pilot and first few episodes of this show. For months prior to “BFF’s” April debut, my ears were constantly bombarded with, “I literally CANNOT WAIT for you to see this show. It’s us! I DIE. You will love it.”
And, no shock here, my BFF was right – it’s literally like someone installed a creepy cam on my beloved best friend and I during any one of our roughly 42 daily (and of course, hilarious) conversations. Trust me, “Best Friends Forever” will have you wondering if you and your bestie were secretly creepy-cam’d too – in a good way!
2) The Writing
Exhibit A: After an ill-timed lockout from their Brooklyn apartment in episode 3, Lennon gets stuck hanging precariously from a rusted fire escape, while Jessica watches from the street below, horrified.
Forced to run (literally) to the local firehouse for help, the newly single and emotionally fragile Jessica — clad in a hoodie and “Harvey Rothman’s bar mitzvah boxers” (ouch, not anyone’s best look, much less sexy fireman bait) pleads with the still-dangling Lennon to help her make the outfit “better.”
Like any true BFF would, Lenn beckons Jess to “come into the light,” and after a frantic onceover, she tells Jess to “cinch it” in order to give herself “a waist.”
“Men love proportions – natural proportions,” she adds, out of breath, as Jessica desperately yanks on the boxers’ drawstrings and scampers off to find help. Genius! I want to marry these women.
3) Love & Life Advice From Queenetta
Nosy 9-year-old neighbor Queenetta (Daija Owens) is “BFF’s” resident sass-master, and will promptly lay a smackdown on anyone who dares refer to her age as simply “9” by bellowing, “I’m 9-AND-A-HALF!” (pigtails shaking with righteous indignation). She’ll also be found faithfully guarding her post on the building’s front stoop whenever Jess and Lenn need her, as there’s a new baby in her house and she doesn’t “like the way it smells.” Also, she’ll straight call Jessica on the carpet if she tries to hit the town wearing only a single pair of spanks. After all, you’ve gotta keep it tight if you want to keep a man, according to Q’s prepubescent advice. Once Jess has her “nails done, hair done, everything did,” then she’ll be welcome to join Queenetta and Lennon’s inspired chorus of Drake’s “Oh, you fancy, huh?”
4) The Acknowledgement Of The “Sad Khakis” (aka Fat Pants)
Fresh off the FedEx delivery of divorce papers from her smooth-talking ex, Jessica finds comfort in donning her “sad khakis” – the ones with the less than flattering frontal pleats. Don’t act like you don’t exactly what we’re talking about! “BFF” brought this fashion-backward taboo item into the spotlight of primetime. Let’s just admit we all have that one pair of baggy pants we secretly wish we could wear to Thanksgiving dinner (and do, in fact, IMMEDIATELY put on after Aunt Rosemary and the cousins tote their foil-covered pumpkin pie leftovers to the car). They’re comfy, and they’ve got a little extra room for those dark moments when emotional eating has caused us to ring in a few pounds over our “fighting weight.” It is what it is.
5) The Dancing
Obviously gifted in the bust-a-move dance department, Lennon struts her stuff in the most impressive of ways – whether it be impromptu singalongs with Jess, complete with mock spankings to “It’s Raining Men,” or whether it be a gloriously executed running man dance exhibition set to “Everybody Dance Now” (episode 3), the dancing rules.
6) The Guys
Luka Jones stepped in to play the lovable Joe Foley, Lennon’s live-in boyfriend, after actor Adam Pally was forced to bow out to return to “Happy Endings” (another hilariously awesome show, BTW).
For Joe, a “Braveheart”-quoting sports fan, learning to share his girlfriend’s attention (and his office) with her boisterous best friend is a bit of an adjustment. While he’s not always thrilled with the double dose of Lilith Fair-worshipping, “Steel Magnolias”-watching, estrogen-induced shrieking that has overtaken his man zone, he loyally steps up to the plate anytime Jess or Lenn find themselves in a tricky situation (e.g., when Jess unwittingly ends up a guest at a college “Cougar Ball” – episode 4).
Luka is adorbs in this role and also hails from UCB.
And then there’s Rav Stark. Sigh. Your friendly neighborhood bar owner and college friend of the girls, this ruggedly handsome 30-something (charmingly played by Stephen Schneider) seems to have had a long-running crush on Jessica. Now that Jess is single, hmm… Besides, his bar boasts a wall-mounted Buffalo head affectionately named, “Mark Buffalo.” Beat THAT.
PS, the show’s first season was directed and executive produced by Fred Savage. Yes, Fred Savage of “The Wonder Years.” Do YOU want to be the one responsible for making Kevin Arnold sad by withholding your support from this obviously amazing show? Didn’t think so.
So grab some sweet meats, fills your Scoops with the maximum amount of guacamole/monster chili, top off Shelby’s juice cup and plop down in your inflatable Wolverines chair (all jokes you will understand in due time) and enjoy “BFF Day” by watching the (hopefully not) final two episodes of “Best Friends Forever” – Friday night at 8/7c on NBC. #SAVEBFF
-- Erin O’Sullivan