Ron Batzdorff/ABC
Karen Valby
March 13, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT


TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date

We gave it a B

The tagline for the new bar comedy Mixology is ”10 strangers, one night, and all the ridiculous things we do to find love.” Let’s hear from some of those folks about their varying brands of ridiculousness. ”He’s so hot I would let him degrade me,” a woman says of the stud bartender. ”We brought you out so you could smash a lot of not-so-bright party girls,” an ape of a man tells his timid buddy. TGIF?

Turns out the gimmicky conceit and those dumb, nasty lines undercut the best of what this series has to offer. Each episode zeroes in on one couple, who circle and crash into each other in bouts of antagonism or flirtation, before retreating to their friend safety zones. The cutaway flashbacks to each character’s childhood are cartoonishly drawn, yet the pacing is snappy, and the cast includes a few standouts, like Blake Lee (Parks and Recreation) as Tom, a tender innocent still mourning his broken engagement. He’s a dorky delight in every scene. And Alexis Carra brings sharp wit and depth to the role of Jessica, a single mother who took two buses in from New Jersey for a night out.

If you like — or like zoning out to — slick and shiny romantic comedies in the vein of New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, Mixology is the show for you. But underneath the glossy, Ryan Seacrest-produced banner, this cocktail actually has some genuine sweetness and originality. Skeptics, stay for another round. B

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