After a relatively solid series premiere, Cooper Barrett and his lovable friends are back in action. What chaotic hijinks awaits the crew this weekend? In the second episode, “How to Survive Insufficient Funds,” Cooper and his friends begin facing the money problems that often plague young adults and find themselves going through some extreme situations to get out of trouble. The episode also follows Cooper’s brother Josh and his wife Leslie, who begin to form a somewhat awkward relationship with Cooper’s neighbor Kelly.
As a whole, the earnest energy and chemistry between the cast continues to infectiously win over the audience, making up for some of the show’s problematic qualities, but while episode two took a few steps forward, it also took a few steps backward.
One improvement was the subplot between Josh and Leslie. During the premiere, Leslie was pretty much in the background, but this episode allowed Liza Lapira to come out of her shell more. Both Lapira and Justin Bartha have a great dynamic together, being a kind of wacky, yet fun couple to follow around. While their plotline in this episode was slightly contrived, it worked in the end due to the impressive comedic timing of the two.
The show continues to exhibit a solid relationship between the trio of friends. Jack Cutmore Scott, Charlie Saxton and James Earl bring a great deal of energy and charm to the show, making their characters feel fresh and not falling into the cliche nature that burden a lot of television comedies.
One of the key aspects to this episode was the cameo of Paula Abdul. Going in, the news of her appearance had me slightly confused, as a lot of times random cameos in television shows means trouble. However, Abdul’s inclusion worked surprisingly well. She very much gets the tone and energy of the show, playing off the cast nicely. Her narrative itself leads to a fair share of funny moments.
Often times, Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life hints at some more thoughtful character building moments, but largely puts it aside for the craziness of the episode’s story line. This is a shame, as the few quieter scenes in the episode address problems of 20-somethings in a more meaningful way.
This episode in a lot of ways got a bit too zany, with it ending in a very ridiculous manner that took much of the events out of its real world environment. Ultimately, it wrapped up in the same sort of clean and unrealistic manor as last week’s episode. If this continues, the formula as a whole will start to get stale.
While Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life continues to be a rather enjoyable way to spend a half-hour, it needs to face some of its issues in order to continue to grow.