TV OT: The female friendships we need to see more of. Plus, ‘Acapulco’ and our ‘SNL’ hopes

While many of the hetero relationships on “Ted Lasso” ended the season with unknowns, I’d like to take a moment to laud one that remains on the most solid of ground going into the hellscape known as hiatus: Keeley and Rebecca.

Not only have these two solidified their place among TV’s best female friends of all-time, but they’ve set a new bar for the types of women I want to see making connections.

For what felt like too long, some of the best female friends on television were between and among women who (save for a personality trait or two) had almost everything in common — similar ages, socioeconomic statuses, education levels, races, backgrounds, upbringings, body types or some combination of all of those.

To some degree, that’s fine. We will always gravitate toward those with whom we have things in common, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I do hope the next frontier of television’s female friendships is filled with connections that challenge us to seek out meaningful relationships with others who exist outside our own bubble of being.

It is their differences and rather unlikely friendship that has made Keeley (Juno Temple) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) joys to watch since they first started forming a bond last season. Keeley, a perpetually underestimated young reality TV starlet, and Rebecca, the Google result when you search for “statuesque skirt-suited sovereign,” were not likely to be in each other’s orbit had it not been for their dealings with the Richmond football club. By the time Rebecca extended an invitation to Keeley to join the club in a more official capacity, it was clear their deeper similarities (like their desire to support, cheer for and defend one another) could transcended any differences that may have prevented them from interacting outside the walls of Richmond HQ.

This season has seen that deepen, culminating in one of the most moving scenes of the finale — when Keeley has to tell Rebecca that she’s leaving to start her own PR firm.

“You helped this panda become a lion,” she tells Rebecca tearfully.

Rebecca responds with only encouragement, telling her eventually, “Bit of advice for being a boss: hire your best friend.”

For every Eleanor and Tahani from “The Good Place” or Jane and Petra from “Jane the Virgin,” TV has given us 50 Monica and Rachels. While any pairing that doesn’t see two women at odds over a man or a position of power is a win in my book, I hope more shows take on the challenge to build bridges between different kinds of women. After all, it’s very good to remind ourselves that like the adorable pandas and regal lions of the world, some of the best things on Earth look and live nothing like us.

A trip to ‘Acapulco’

Elsewhere, should you spend your airline miles for a journey to Acapulco? CNN’s Brian Lowry has his take:

“As ‘Ted Lasso’ finishes its season, Apple TV+ looks for its next big comedy, and ‘Acapulco’ doesn’t feel like it; rather, it’s an appropriately breezy but rather lightweight series, featuring Eugenio Derbez as a billionaire reminiscing about the origins of his success, tracing it to his time as a cabana boy at a posh Acapulco resort in his youth.

Enrique Arrizon plays the young Máximo, whose mother sends him off to work saying, ‘Just promise me you won’t let that place change you,’ while his sister accuses him of becoming ‘another cog in the capitalist wheel.’ But of course, the place does change him, as he learns to manipulate guests into spending more money, escapes one crisis after another and falls for the woman of his dreams (Camila Perez), who is (naturally) involved with someone else.

It’s not bad, but also pretty disposable — ‘The Secrets of My Success,’ for anyone old enough to remember that, flashback edition.”

Sitcoms getting serious

'The United States of Al" is inspired by "experiences of the Afghan and military veteran writers on the series who worked together to evacuate family members during the takeover of Afghanistan," according to CBS. Adhir Kalyan and Parker Young, shown here, star in the series.
I try to spend every other weekend catching up on sitcoms (I’m two episodes behind on “The Wonder Years”, for example), but Lowry has been keeping up and spotted a trend:

“In a logical move, CBS sitcom ‘United States of Al’ — about an Afghan interpreter who comes to live with an American veteran — quickly pivoted to acknowledge the events in Afghanistan in its premiere, yielding a sober and sobering episode, in which the title character (Adhir Kalyan) frets about family back home, and the heartbreak of what’s happening to his country.

‘The Neighborhood’ will also take a serious turn in its Oct. 11 episode, with Dave (Max Greenfield) and Gemma (Beth Behrs) losing a pregnancy, and neighbors Calvin (Cedric the Entertainer) and Tina (Tichina Arnold) seeking to help by sharing their experience with a miscarriage, as well as intercepting a baby gift.

There’s obviously a long history of sitcoms dealing with issues (the ‘very special’ episodes of the past), and CBS’ shows did the same regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform last year. Still, the practice can be a delicate one, simply because it’s sometimes difficult — perhaps especially for a show like ‘United States of Al’ — to return to broad comedy in the wake of such stories.”

An ‘SNL’ wish list

To close us out for this week, CNN’s Frank Pallotta, our resident authority in all things Studio 8H, has some last-minute ideas for the gang at “Saturday Night Live,” should they be scrambling in the 11th hour:

“Kim Kardashian West takes over Studio 8H when she hosts ‘SNL’ this weekend. I’d love to see Kim in some sketches that take on her very social life. Top of my list would be: The return of Kristen Wiig’s Kris Jenner. Chris Redd’s kooky Kanye West is also a great selection, but I don’t know if Kim will let the show go there. Kim would also be perfect for a ‘Californians’ sketch. She can help old cast members like Fred Armisen take the 405 around the Golden State. I mean, Kim is the definition of Californian luxury, after all.”

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