‘Abby’s’ is a big waste of time

March 21, 2019

When I told my husband what show I was writing about and all my negative thoughts on it, he asked me why I would even bother. The answer, my dear readers, is that I take my job as a TV columnist very seriously. I consider it my sworn duty to tell you what shows you cannot miss. But maybe even more important I need to tell you what shows will only eat away your already precious time. And it’s the latter responsibility that drives me to warn you about NBC’s new comedy, “Abby’s.”

“Abby’s” stars Natalie Morales as Abby, a former Marine, who runs a bar in her backyard. But Abby’s is not Cheers, as Abby has a number of rules —162 of them, in fact — that patrons must follow. No cell phones are allowed, and seats at the bar must be earned after customers work their way through the bar’s seating hierarchy.

The regulars at Abby’s are Fred (Neil Flynn); Beth (Jessica Chaffin), Abby’s next-door neighbor, who comes to the bar to get away from

her kids; James (Leonard Ouzts), the bar’s bouncer, who’s afraid of confrontation; and Rosie (Kimia Behpoornia), the bar manager. The perfect set-up at the bar is threatened with the appearance of Bill (Nelson Franklin), Abby’s new landlord, who wants to close the place down. But after spending some time at the bar, Bill realizes how important it is to everyone and decides to let the bar remain open with just a few changes.

I would really like to just say “Abby’s” is terrible so don’t watch it. But I need 500 words, so I’m going to give you three reasons why it’s so bad.

First, the premise doesn’t make any sense. The bar is there from the beginning, without any real explanation. And as the show plays out, you learn it’s unlicensed and on property Abby doesn’t even own. Abby insists her customers follow a ton of rules, but she runs an illegal bar?

Second, the characters are completely unlikable. For a show like this to work, you have to like the characters, and only James comes anywhere close. Abby and her obnoxious rules are bad enough, but Beth watches her kids through a window from a barstool while drinking?

Third, the show is painfully unfunny. Without the studio audience, there would be no way of knowing what lines are actually supposed to be jokes.

It’s clear why NBC held this one off the schedule so long and why it has given it such little promotion, but it’s not clear why they’re bothering to air it at all and in such a cushy timeslot. I’m thinking that someone lost a bet and TV viewers are the ones being forced to pay up.

Do yourself a favor and do not pull up a stool at “Abby’s.” There are much more important things you could do with 30 minutes on a Thursday night.

“Abby’s” premieres at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, on NBC.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.