It’s almost a given by now that any Chuck Lorre sitcom will be cleverly cast and sharply written, with snappy one-liners offset by a smattering of heartfelt sincerity.
“B Positive” meets all the criteria — and starts with a bang on what should be a successful run.
Lorre’s new CBS sitcom premieres Nov. 5 at 8:30 p.m. following “Young Sheldon,” his top-rated comedy series. It stars Thomas Middleditch as Drew Dunbar, a young psychologist and divorced dad of a surly teenage daughter, Maddie (Izzy G.). He’s having trouble with his anatomical plumbing, and a visit to his doctor confirms that Drew needs a kidney transplant. “Nothing in your body should ever be ‘through the roof’ ” his doctor says when Drew questions his blood test. His next goal: to find a kidney donor and, for now, not telling Maddie or his ex-wife, Julia (Sara Rue).
It’s not so easy.
While attending a wedding shortly after his diagnosis, Drew (reluctantly) runs into bridesmaid Gina (Annaleigh Ashford), a hard-partying high school acquaintance who drives a senior van for an assisted living facility. She — or rather her drunken alter-ego, “Becca” — offers to be Drew’s kidney donor, and after being turned down by his friends (and his own doctor — a nice comedic touch), Drew circles back to Gina. The caveat: that she stay clean and sober for three months to keep her kidneys healthy.
“B Positive” moves quickly along without any distracting throwaways, and there’s a nice chemistry between Middleditch, late of HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” and Ashford, who’s good in just about everything (particularly on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”). They both know their way around a spunky line of dialogue, and the writing is clever in establishing a comic framework that should propel the series along as Drew and Gina continue their journey together.
“B Positive” will fit comfortably between “Young Sheldon” and one of Lorre’s other CBS sitcoms, “Mom”; viewers familiar with Lorre’s Emmy-winning Netflix comedy, “The Kominsky Method,” and Sandy’s (Michael Douglas) prostate woes — and the cardiac-driven comedy on Lorre’s fourth CBS entry, “Bob Hearts Abishola” (back Nov. 16) — will appreciate the medical humor.
And pay attention to the riders in Gina’s senior van — eagle-eyed viewers might recognize 87-year-old Bernie Kopell (Siegfried from “Get Smart” and Dr. Adam Bricker from “The Love Boat”), who will be a recurring character this season. Throw in the show’s “Monty Python”-style opening animation — and its catchy title — and there’s a lot to like about this series.
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