CBS’s latest show targeting dateless women staying in on Friday night—there seems to be a new one every year—has a premise that’s about as dorky as they come. But the producers’ self-awareness of the cheese keeps the tone breezy at all times. Throw in dialogue that sounds like an XX response to Kevin Smith and you’ve got a featherweight confection that wisely avoids patronizing its intended audience.
Complicated is the last word anyone would use to describe the set-up: In the middle of her kid sister Daphne’s (Rachel Boston) bachelorette party, Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser), a neurotic, slightly crunchy 33-year-old, is dragged along to a fortune-teller. The psychic claims that Bella is destined to marry one of her many exes—and if she doesn’t find the guy and get hitched within the next year, she’ll be forever single.
Reaser’s voice may be more recognizable than her face; on Grey’s Anatomy she played the pregnant, disfigured amnesiac who went through a number of radical cosmetic surgeries. With her neurosis meter dialed down from 9 to a 6 or so, she’s darn appealing and makes a nice counterpoint to the ditzy, overcaffeinated Boston and the somewhat kinky Vivian (Alexandra Breckinridge), the only other woman in Bella’s circle of wiseass friends. The series is based on an Israeli comedy with a priceless title (Mythological X), and the premise would seem to make The Ex List a single-season program by definition. But the writers may not have to jump through hoops to extend Bella’s quest: The Israeli version called it quits after 11 episodes, and 9–10pm Fridays on CBS is the closest thing today to a guaranteed “death slot.”