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About a Boy - Episode 1.02 - About A Pool Party - Review

The first season of About A Boy has now begun in earnest with their second episode, “About a Pool Party” (I see what they did there…). Although Will was tasked with watching Marcus while Fiona goes on a job interview, he gets bored watching Marcus color in his feelings wheel, and takes him instead to a fancy pool party. Naturally Will abandons his young charge for beautiful women and alcohol, leaving the lonely child to do his own nut checks. (He’s allergic to nuts - get your mind out of the gutter). Luckily Will apologizes and helps Marcus get up the courage to jump off the high dive.

Will’s general ignorance of the world, including thinking that it’s okay to leave an 11-year-old by himself at a large crazy party with ice luges and video hoes, is a bit hard to grasp. It’s obviously a convention of TV to have these man-boy characters, but it’s hard to imagine that they made it this far in life without a basic understanding of…mostly anything. He still definitely has his sweet moments, like comforting Marcus on the diving board and encouraging him to try for Total Exuberance (on his feelings wheel) if he wants to - and that Will's really fun to watch.

One of the great bits about the episode was the theme of lying. Although Will couldn’t corrupt young Marcus into lying to his mother about their wild day, he was able to corrupt his mother. When Fiona goes for a job interview she follows Will’s advice, leading her potential employers to call Will, her “former boss,” for a recommendation. Fiona also realizes that she might micromanage Marcus a bit - a realization that presumably come far before any sort of behavioral change in the area.

The best piece by far, though, was the dumbwaiter that connects both sides of the duplex, and allows Marcus to spook Will and his girl-of-the-day. As I child I always wanted to play with/in a dumbwaiter, and having any sort of secret room or something of the like would have been amazing. It also provided a fun further connection of the neighbors into one another’s lives, though Will did seal it up at the end in an effort to block out any more celebratory acoustic songs.

So far I’m still conflicted about the show. It’s got some great, funny moments, and at times some really interesting relationships. On the other hand it can feel a little broad, obviously NBC’s goal at the moment, and a little frustrating as Will’s instinct is consistently off. Obviously Will’s character has to change over time, evolving out of the thoughtless, selfish man-child of the first two episodes, but it does make it hard to root for him at times. Luckily David Walton brings some charm to the character, defusing some of the tension from his misguided actions. It might be really fun to watch this character grow, though a little hard to get through at first.

Overall I say, more Minnie Driver! If you’ve got Minnie Driver in your show, you have to use her - she only appeared in a few minutes of this episode, though provided some great moments, especially at the end. I look forward to some more Fiona-heavy episodes in the future.

I mentioned this in my pilot review, but I do really want to like this show, and I want it to succeed. It’s so early in its run that it could really go anywhere at this point, and I’m still hopeful that it can find its unique voice.

What did you think of the second episode? Do you enjoy Will, or is he too frustrating? Or perhaps a combination of both? Let us know below!