'The Ex List' Review: Too Desperate to be Enjoyable
'The Ex List' Review: Too Desperate to be Enjoyable
I fall squarely into the target demographic of CBS’ new Friday night offering, The Ex List. I am an unmarried urban woman in my 20s who has had her share of breakups but who still plans to get married some day. Watching this show should be like looking at a mirror onto my soul. I should be finding a fictional kindred spirit in this show, but let me tell you, I found The Ex List excruciating to watch.

The Ex List stars Elizabeth Reaser (she of Grey’s Anatomy ferry victim fame) as Bella Bloom, a 33-year-old proprietress of a flower shop with a penchant for saying “dude.” She visits a psychic as part of the festivities of her sister’s bachelorette party where she learns that the man she is supposed to marry is one whom she has already had a romantic relationship with. The only catch is, she must reconnect with him and marry him within a year; otherwise, she will be doomed to spend eternity alone. [cue ominous music]

In tonight’s pilot episode of The Ex List, Bella gets back together with a musician she dated seven years ago, whom she dumped because she couldn’t deal with his excessive emotions and clinginess. Turns out that the ex, played by Eric Balfour, is now a punk rocker who writes songs about how that “bitch dumped me on my birthday.”

Bella gets back together with punk boy, only to find that he hasn’t lost his teary-eyed sappiness. Rather than having to break up with him a second time, she hatches a plan to act like a needy, manipulative bitch to force him to break up with her. Of course, her plan backfires in a big way when she starts to develop feelings for him.

Is this really what single-girl shows have become? Sex and the City, while irritating to no end, actually made it look fun to be a single girl. As a single girl, you get to have a closet full of Manolos, you’ve got your best girlfriends to share your ups and downs with over ubiquitous Cosmopolitans and you’ve got a whole city full of successful men to conquer in bed. Rather than being fabulous and full of friends, Bella’s life consists solely of her annoying band of inauthentic slacker friends and desperately scouring her past dating resume for that elusive Mr. Right, and that’s just sad. “I’m on the soulmate path, man. No stopping or standing,” she chirps. Her depressing life is obscured somewhat by Reaser’s manic scenery chewing, but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. Bella Bloom is so a desperate spade.

Of course, we all know who Bella really wants. It’s Elliott, her boyfriend of three years with whom she shares custody of their dog. She doesn’t yet know that he’s the soulmate she so desires because he’s not the marrying kind, but I’m sure that by the time the series ends, he’ll see from the humiliations she’s willing to endure in the name of life partnership, that she’s actually worth settling down with. I hope that he realizes this sooner rather than later because I doubt that The Ex List will last even a full season.

-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)