LOVE BITES “Sky High” Review

LOVE BITES "Sky High" Episode 4 (3)

LOVE BITES “Sky High” Season 1, Episode 4 – Thanks to this episode of Love Bites, I’ve got “On the Wings of Love” stuck in my head. I don’t even know how the rest of the song goes, so in the first segment, “Sunday Fun Day,” I was surprised by how many people in that church knew all the lyrics well enough to join in on the spontaneous musical number. Music aside, there really wasn’t too much in the way of plot in this segment. Dan shows up – with his ponytail miraculously reattached – he and Judd get high, Judd convinces Colleen to get stoned and then hilarity ensues as they cope with hanging around Judd’s family at a christening. Pretty predictable stuff and if not for Judd and Colleen being super cute and funny, this segment would actually be kind of boring.

The second segment, “Kiss and Tell” used Annie’s younger sister to pull a high school story into a series that has largely been about adult relationships. It started off about about Christy, but very quickly became about Josh and his friends. Instead of rushing to fit everything in, “Kiss and Tell” would probably have worked better as two 14 minute segments where we could spend more time with those two characters and address their stories as separate plots that end up tying together. This story spanned a few days, in a variety of locations, with a whole new crowd of interesting characters, but it was told at an accelerated pace so that all the developments could be squeezed in.

It didn’t help to have bits of Annie’s story crammed into that same segment. Her pregnancy induced sense of entitlement was funny and it was great seeing her run into Matt again, but it was out of place and I couldn’t figure out why it was relevant as part of the “Kiss and Tell” story line. It didn’t bring anything to the high school drama and it wasn’t strong enough to stand on its own so it ended up seeming like the remnants of stuff they forgot to include in last week’s episode.

The final segment, “I Need Space” was sprinkled with campy outer space and gravity special effects which ended up making this already funny plot, even more hilarious. Isaiah Mustafah, Ken Jeong, and Eddie McClintock delivered their generally ridiculous lines with perfect deadpan that made everything they said seem serious even though I was laughing practically the entire time. Although this was the least realistic of the three stories from this episode, it was my favorite and I’m hoping these three astronauts will find their way back into another Love Bites storyline somewhere in the future.

This episode suffered from some of the same writing and pacing issues that we’ve seen before, but something about this episode bothered me more than the previous three. Although it was a minor detail, Dan’s ponytail set me off a little bit. Love Bites is already a challenging show to keep up with. There are new plot lines and new characters introduced every week so if these stories are meant to link up to some sort of greater chronology, then the continuity has to be perfect. I’m happy to watch each segment as mostly stand alone stories, but when characters come back every week, it’s hard for me to avoid piecing together a chronological structure for them. Although I love their characters, I’m confused by Judd and Annie. I’m not sure why both of their stories keep coming back if they have no involvement in any of the other segments or in each other’s segments. At least Annie’s story feels like it has a general arc that links back to plots, characters and discussions from previous episodes, but Judd’s stories don’t seem to connect to one another in the same way. Maybe there is no clear timeline intended for all these stories, but four episodes in, I still can’t tell if I need to be paying attention to every plot detail or not.

I feel like Love Bites still can’t decide if it’s a series with a massive ensemble cast that wants us to get to know its characters, or if it’s a slice of life series that is simply telling us tales of romance through six degrees of separation. I look forward to watching Love Bites each week because the casting has always been impeccable and the stories are often charming and funny, but it’s falling short of greatness because Love Bites can’t commit what it wants to be.