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A New Sitcom from Chuck Lorre Says 'B Positive'
November 5, 2020  | By David Hinckley
 


Let's put it this way. If you think The Walking Dead is a documentary, then you'll have no trouble buying into the premise of B Positive.

B Positive, the only new sitcom CBS will be offering in this bizarre autumn of COVID, premieres Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

It stars Thomas Middleditch (top, Silicon Valley) as Drew, a therapist who was recently divorced and then learned he's in renal failure and needs a new kidney.

Not your classic setup for a sitcom, perhaps, but it's a Chuck Lorre/Marco Pennette show, so they aren't letting small details get them down.

If anything, they make it clear from the first scene, where Drew gets the news from his doctor, that the first priority of every exchange is the joke.

The conversation where Drew learns just how serious and short his medical future could be turns into an exchange of one-liners rather than, say, the imparting of any medical information.

Among other things, the doctor tells Drew that his first job right now is to go out and find himself a donor. We're half waiting for the doctor to add that Drew should Google "kidney transplant procedures" because he'll also be performing the operation himself.

Strange as the doctor conversation might seem, B Positive quickly makes an even bigger stretch.

Drew attends a wedding that is repeatedly interrupted by an unfiltered blonde in the wedding party. Seems she hooked up with another member of the wedding party the night before and is offended that today he's ignoring her. The cad.

This woman, we soon learn, is Gina (Annaleigh Ashford, top, Masters of Sex), who might best be described as a reincarnation of Kat Dennings' Max from 2 Broke Girls. Lots of drugs, booze, and sex, not much self-esteem.

Well, it turns out she knew Drew in high school, maybe twenty years earlier. Small world, eh? And guess what? She impulsively volunteers to give him a kidney.

This may save him. More important in the short term, it gives B Positive its reason to live: a core bonding between two seriously dysfunctional characters.

Drew and Gina could be fun together as they embark on the kidney transplant journey. And viewers who will nod and accept how these two people both got from their own Point A to this mutual Point B in about 15 minutes may want to stay to see how things work out.

Naturally, there are supporting characters, including Gina's BFF Leanne (Kether Donohue), who has even less interest in clean living than Gina herself. There's promise in a group of senior citizens whose van Gina drives to various medical clinics, including the dialysis center.

We also get to know Julia (Sara Rue), Drew's ex-wife, and Maddie (Izzy G), Drew and Julia's teenage daughter.

Maddie is sullen and exasperating, which might make her the character with the most real-life cred.

A contrived premise, even a tortured contrived premise, doesn't mean a sitcom can't work. It must, however, make its characters into people and not just vehicles for punchlines. Middleditch and Ashford are trying their best to transplant that humanity into B Positive.

 
 
 
 
 
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