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TV Series Review

Gather 'round, would-be chefs. Let's bake up a sitcom today! First, take a Disney comedy out of the fridge. Let's see, what do we have here ... oh, perfect! A little Jessie will do just nicely. Now, dump it in a bowl and mix in a heaping cupful of CBS' departed Two and a Half Men. Make sure it's not too fresh, now. It really needs to have aged a bit, preferably in the sun for, say, a year or two. Now, kneed and beat and froth the whole works up something fierce and garnish with just a dash of Julia Child or Rachael Ray to suit your taste. And what do you have? Young & Hungry, a dish just perfect for—well, no one.

Yeah, maybe next time Two and a Half Men could be replaced in the recipe with some high-gluten wheat germ or something. Alas, it's too late for this ABC Family series, a tart and tawdry cookie-cutter sitcom that seems just as confused as its main character, Gabi Diamond.

Oh, Gabi knows what she wants to do: cook. As a young San Francisco food blogger, her professional life revolves around food. Now she has a new gig—serving as the personal chef for wealthy tech wizard Josh Kaminski. But it's not just the occasional steak being broiled between the two: Gabi and Josh are in, shall we say, a relational stew. The pair got drunk and slept together early on, and after some relational difficulties (including the need to deal with Josh's fiancée), the two are now an item—the chef's choice, if you will.

Not that the two have a lot of alone time onscreen. Josh's other employees are always jostling for their turn in the spotlight too. There's Elliot, his personal assistant and walking gay stereotype. Yolanda serves as the requisitely sassy maid. And Gabi's flirty roomie, Sofia, fills the BFF slot.

Starring Hannah Montana alum Emily Osment and produced in part by Disney vet Ashley Tisdale (who makes a cameo as a lesbian editor attracted to Gabi), Young & Hungry has a bit of a Disney sitcom vibe—if Disney characters were prone to curse, sleep around and run screaming from any sort of end-of-the-episode moral. Its two-camera, setup-and-punchline delivery feels very familiar to shows in the Mouse House, and even the structure of the episode titles ("Young & Ringless," "Young & Lesbian") have the same gimmicky feel as those we've seen for years on Disney.

But these ABC Family characters are, in comparison to Disney's stable of tempered teens, old and randy. Gabi and Sofia are twentysomethings into the bar and dating scene, and any sort of morals they might've absorbed in their growing up years from the likes of Disney have been scrapped in favor of cocktails, canoodles and the occasional very adult use of whipped cream.

Admittedly, Two and a Half Men goes further down the sleazy slide than this series does. And it does stress the value of friendship and loyalty in its own little way. But given the involvement of Tisdale—who, in the High School Musical movies and a host of other Disney properties was both hilarious and clean—Young & Hungry leaves me feeling uncomfortably bloated and craving something fresh.

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Episode Reviews

July 18, 2018: "Young & Bullseye"
Young-and-Hungry: 7-23-2014



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Emily Osment as Gabi Diamond; Jonathan Sadowski as Josh Kaminski; Aimee Carrero as Sofia Rodriguez; Rex Lee as Elliot Park; Kym Whitley as Yolanda; Bryan Safi as Alan; Christopher Nicholas Smith as Nick






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