Season 2, Epsiode 3: “Ladies Night”
Microsynopsis: Responding to Yelp reviews calling his bar a place for old people, Steve holds a Ladies Night in hopes of drawing a younger clientele. Among other regulars, Melanie objects, insisting such a move will draw only sleazebag guys. However, when Ladies Night goes down, Melanie finds herself drawn to a nice Indian man (played by Kunal Nayyar) while others in the bar also meet interesting people.
Good: Steve asserts himself further as the owner of this bar, and he continues to develop as a nice guy, even when throwing guys out. This character’s likability could be what holds this show together, so it’s nice to see more. Most of the over-the-top characters actually play a few levels down this time, which is most welcome. Melanie gets a chance to wear something other than that EMT uniform. A super-obvious plot development pairs Hank with a lady who’s not what he thinks, and except for one preachy sentence from Carol, the resolution is handled in a manner slightly less ham-handed than its custom.
Bad: Second episode in a row with no Susan. The show is taking on a personal-growth-lesson-of-the-week tone, something it cannot keep up if it hopes not to become boring. I would like to suggest that every episode need not end on a poignant note, if any of the writers is seeing this. Kunal Nayyar is a welcome guest, but following last week’s Ken Jeong episode, his appearance threatens to turn this show into an Asian-actor-of-the-week thing.
Hapa moment: Nayyar confides to Steve that, “If I approach any girl in Pittsburgh with this accent, they’re gonna ask me about their Verizon account,” to which Steve replies, “I know how you feel. You don’t think it’s weird growing up being Korean and Irish?”
Overall: This isn’t one for the time capsule, and I’m getting a little tired of the “this is what we all learned this week…” vibe. But Melanie and Steve are good, normal characters, and they get to spend a little bit of time giving their relationship a little more depth. Their interactions feel so much more natural than most of the exchanges between the other bar regulars, probably because the dialogue is meant to develop character and not inspire annoyingly loud laughter. Despite its preachy tingle, I’m rating this slightly higher than the other episodes this season because of continued Steve-and-Melanie development.
Final grade, this episode: B-