Young and Hungry for more romantic comedies

Photo courtesy of Freeform

The popular and hilarious sitcom “Young and Hungry” premiered its third season on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. on Freeform (formerly ABC Family). The show picks up moments after the season two finale and continues with the romantic drama from the previous episodes. The season premiere did not seem to quite live up to its usual standards of hilarity.

The episode was full of the usual sitcom style of comedy. Many of the jokes seemed a little cheesy, such as the two daydream sequences or the “married couple lie to protect each other’s feelings” gag. Gabi (Emily Osment, “Hannah Montana”) and Jake (Jayson Blair, “Detention of the Dead”) had a few funny jokes between themselves, as did Jake and the small town mechanic. However, the bathroom scene with Gabi and Sofia (Aimee Carrero, “The Last Witch Hunter”) barely avoiding each other was especially campy.  “Young and Hungry” has plenty of cheesy jokes throughout its other two seasons, but this episode lacked the delivery to make the jokes more than just amusing.

The plot of the episode was a major turning point for the shows long-running romance between Gabi and Josh (Jonathan Sadowski, “Live Free or Die Hard”). The majority of the episode focused on Gabi struggling with her feelings for Josh while with Jake and with Josh’s attempt to find her and express his true feelings. While her romance with Jake was short lived, steering the show towards a romance between Gabi and Josh should produce some interesting results, it also raises questions such as “Will Gabi return to working as Josh’s personal chef?” and “What will happen to Gabi’s food truck business?” It will also be interesting to see if Jake continues to appear in more episodes. The plot is strong enough that viewers can hope to see the show continue to grow and amuse.

The portion of the episode with Yolanda (Kym Whitely, “I Love You, Man”), Eliot (Rex Lee, “Someone I Used to Know”) and Eliot’s new husband Alan (Bryan Safi, “A Deadly Adoption”) felt almost like filler material. It did not seem to serve much purpose as far as plot and was not very funny or interesting. The storyline mainly provided the side characters with added screen time. Yolanda and Eliot’s love/hate relationship usually makes for a great subplot, whether they are providing advice to Gabi or Josh, antagonizing each other or overcoming some plot conflict. The premiere seemed to lack any development in their roles and they did not provide any conflict resolution beyond a painfully cliché situation. The characters have so much more to offer than negotiating newlyweds lying about liking each other’s hair.

Freeform is starting to change the type of shows it’s airing, from the new and exciting “Shadow Hunters” to the new, darker season of “Pretty Little Liars.” These shows seem to provide plot and depth with every scene. While “Young and Hungry” is not the same time of show, it is a little disappointing that it seems to be so stereotypical. It is a more mature sitcom than most aired on ABC Family, but it still seems to be stuck in a rut of classic ABC/Disney sitcom humor. Hopefully, “Young and Hungry” will continue to grow its plot and explore new humor as the third season progresses. It would be unfortunate for a sitcom with such an interesting plot and fun characters to begin to blend back in to the sea of other sitcoms on television for lack of effective comedy.

While the humor in the show was rather flat and cliché, the plot twist of the episode may provide for an exciting season. It can be expected that episodes going forward will be about the development of Gabi and Josh’s romance. This has potential to produce both, meaningful, endearing scenes and possibility scenes of awkward hilarity for the new couple.

Our Take: 3/5