The Bottom Line
- Stars Jessica St. Clair, Lennon Parham, Luka Jones, Stephen Schneider, Daija Owens
- Created by Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham
- Airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. EST starting April 4, 2012 on NBC
Instead it has creators and stars Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, real-life friends and writing partners, playing characters named after themselves, and while they can both be funny performers, they’re a little too cartoonish to succeed as multi-dimensional lead characters. St. Clair in particular has been entertaining in small parts in movies like Bridesmaids and Wanderlust, but she almost always plays someone who’s abrasive and overbearing, and she can’t quite shake that tone even when she’s meant to be much more endearing and sympathetic.
Jessica (the character) has just been served divorce papers by her no-good husband, and she’s an emotional wreck. So she moves from San Francisco back to Brooklyn to crash with her best friend Lennon, and pick up right where they left off when they used to be roommates. The only problem is that Lennon is now living with her boyfriend Joe (Luka Jones). Now the friends have to adjust to having a man around all the time, and Lennon and Joe have to adjust to having a constantly present third wheel in their relationship. It’s a pretty simple setup that could go in any number of directions.
As of the first episode, Best Friends Forever doesn’t seem to be going in any particular direction, instead just establishing some basic character dynamics. Parham isn’t as grating a presence as St. Clair, but their two characters together tend to pile on the shrill intensity, and it’s hard to root for their dynamic over Lennon and Joe’s more sweet relationship. That relationship is mostly boilerplate sitcom stuff, with typical gender-role dichotomies (she loves Steel Magnolias and gourmet food; he loves football and chili), although it has its moments of genuine connection (the pair’s shared love for Braveheart is a nice running gag).
The show’s most egregious presence is Daija Owens as Queenetta, the nine-year-old black girl who lives downstairs from the main characters. She’s the sassy-black-lady and precocious-kid stereotypes all wrapped up in one character, and exists only to deliver irritating quips about the main characters. In a show that’s aiming to be at least somewhat emotionally realistic, Queenetta is nothing but a stale sitcom device, and she undercuts any genuine character development going on around her. St. Clair and Parham don’t exactly bring a lot of depth to their characters to begin with, but there’s a sense that maybe they could blossom over time. Sadly, with only six episodes before an almost inevitable cancellation, that isn’t likely to happen.