LOVE BITES “Firsts” Review

LOVE BITES “Firsts” Episode 1 – Because of the rumors I had heard about Love Bites being doomed before it hit the airwaves, I had expectations of disaster. I’m not really an expert on the sexy-romantic-dramedy genre of TV but I was excited to see Becki Newton on TV again, so I prepared myself for the worst and sat down with my remote. I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

As we’re introduced to all the characters, we’re shown how their lives are all loosely connected across the country. I loved seeing New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami (even if it was just the airport) in their romanticized beauty. If the opening credits are any indication, I’m thinking that various cities across the United States will become settings for Love Bites which will turn out to be a pretty cool feature of the show. There are a lot of stories being told and for the most part, the writing is OK. I liked all three mini-stories that were told, but I felt like the Carter-Liz story went on a little longer than it needed to and I got bored with their “Maserati” bit after a while. There were moments where some of the set-ups and lines felt awkwardly scripted and a few of the pop culture references seemed like they were crammed in unnecessarily, which made the pacing stumble a bit.

That said, every time I caught myself grumbling about an awkward line, I found myself simultaneously considering how perfectly Love Bites was cast. The actors have so much charisma on screen that the bumps in the writing were quickly forgotten. There wasn’t a single member of the cast – even among the smaller roles and cameos – that I didn’t like. A character like Cassie is usually one that I find to be obnoxious, but Krysten Ritter made that neurotic, needy woman seem adorable. She made Cassie funny and cute, and I ended up liking that character even while she was desperately seeking validation from men. Truth be told, it’s practically impossible for me to hate anything that makes a reference to Battlestar Galactica, so maybe I became biased after Cassie and Jordan talked about BSG with more intensity than they talked about her virginity lie, but on the whole, I was interested in all these characters and I wanted to see how each of their stories would play out.

I’m really curious to see what direction the next episodes will take. Not all of these characters will have recurring roles which is both exciting and disappointing. I want to know what happens to these characters so I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see their lives develop and connect just a little bit more. I’ll want closure to all the little plots, I’ll want to know what happens between Cassie and Jordan, I’ll want to see what happens when Jennifer Love Hewitt goes into Judd’s tattoo parlor and I’ll even want to know if Carter was able to beat the “Maserati.”

I don’t think there’s anything quite like Love Bites on TV right now and I can’t recall if something like it has been attempted on American television before. It’s entertaining to catch glimpses of other people’s lives as if you were looking at them through department store windows. Each uniquely decorated window tells a different story while still sharing a similar theme. In that way, Love Bites reminded a little bit of films like Paris Je T’aime, New York Stories, New York, I Love You, Night on Earth, and Tokyo!, but I just don’t know how well that feeling translates into television. When we’re not getting character development and plot progression on a week to week basis, the one or two dud episodes in a season might be enough to make me lose total interest. The stories they tell every week will have to be consistently compelling to keep me coming back even when I know I’ll most likely never see some of these characters again. In the end, I enjoyed this first episode of Love Bites and I genuinely want to see what happens next but I have to remind myself to not get too attached to every character they introduce and I may find that I have to adjust the way I watch this show from this point forward.