This series follows the budding relationship of a new couple, snarky Peter and naïve Dana, by “exposing their unfiltered internal monologues” (letting viewers hear what the characters are thinking).
In the first moments of the first episode, Peter walks down the street, leering at every woman as he does so. Viewers hear his thoughts: “Yep. Yep. No way. I think I already did. I don’t remember her name. Oh God, please don’t recognize me. Yes. Yes!” (Sees the woman is pregnant.) “I dunno. Probably.” (Camera zooms in on the woman’s breasts.) “YES!”
During Peter and Dana’s first date, the following dialogue – both thought and spoken – occurs:
Peter (thinking): “Totally going back to my place. Oh God, did I leave porn lying around?”
Dana (thinking): “Might go back to his place. Wait, did I shave my legs?”
Dana talks about her day.
Peter (thinking): “Nice rack.”
Dana (thinking): “Does he really think I can’t tell he’s staring at my breasts?”
Dana (aloud): “HEY!”
Peter (aloud): “Oh. Um. Sorry, I was just…”
Dana (aloud): “Checking out my boobs.”
Dana starts crying.
Peter (thinking): “Holy sh(bleep)!”
Dana (thinking): “Holy sh(bleep)!”
Producer Jeff Lowell: “We want to establish that men and women think about things differently. He’s into boobs, she likes purses and cries all the time.” That sleazy, sexist sentiment pretty much says it all about Manhattan Love Story.
The notion of “hearing people’s thoughts” may have seemed clever to the show’s creators, but it is a device which works much better in print than in a video medium. It also doesn’t help that the thoughts we do get to hear are so despicably sexist and sex-obsessed – in addition to most of Peter’s other thoughts consisting of the kind of mean-spirited sarcasm that inhabitants of Manhattan and Hollywood types consider “hip” and “ironic,” but which in fact are just plain nasty. With unlikeable characters, sexist language, and a gimmick that will become tiresome by the end of episode 2, there really is no reason to watch Manhattan Love Story.
Manhattan Love Story premieres Tuesday, September 30 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Take a look yourself and tell us what you think in our comments below!