A to Z: Did You Meet-Cute With NBC's New Rom-Com?

A to Z Premiere Recap

This fall’s TV schedule is full of rom-coms, and the latest entry into the club on Thursday night is NBC’s How I Met Your Mother-meets-(500) Days of Summer-eseque A to Z. Was it A for adorable? Or Z for zzzzzz?

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Before you ghit the comments with your thoughts, a recap of the pilot: Andrew (played by Mad Men‘s Ben Feldman) is a guy’s guy with a secret romantic side, evidenced — as the narrator(Sons of Anarchy‘s Katey Sagal) tells us — by his listening to Celine Dion in the car. Zelda (How I Met Your Mother‘s Cristin Milioti) is a girly girl who likes order and control thanks to the crazy way her mom brought her up; naturally, she’s a lawyer. They “will date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour,” the narrator reveals. “This program is a comprehensive account of their relationship – from A to Z.”

And so we begin at “A Is for Acquaintances,” AKA the day that Andrew and Zelda finally meet. Andrew works at the dating site Wallflower, and Zelda comes in for an interview about her experience/to get her friend’s money back. Andrew immediately takes a liking to her; Zelda wonders if they’ve met before. As it turns out, her office is just across the office park from his, and they’ve been within five feet of each other on 19 different occasions since her firm moved to the location two months ago.

But the moment they actually first saw each other took place at a concert where Andrew spotted a mystery girl in a silver dress and thought, “‘I wish I was here with that girl’… I pictured our entire lives together,” he tells Zelda on their first date. “This is destiny.”

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Zelda, however, feels differently. As a lawyer, she believes you can find evidence to prove anything. Plus, her mom was also into destiny — and divorce. To put the final nail in Andrew’s heart, she says she doesn’t own a silver dress and that they should be just friends.

A to Z Premiere RecapStill, Andrew is convinced it was her in the silver dress, just like he’s sure there’s a conspiracy to hide Back to the Future hover boards from kids, and he’s going to prove that both are true. He tasks two Wallflower programmers, Lora (Treme‘s Hong Chau) and Dinesh (Outsourced‘s Parvesh Cheena), who have their own tortured romance — “If you believe in The One, you must also accept the fact that The Negative One also exists,” Dinesh declares — to dig up proof that Zelda was there. And they deliver, but with a caveat: She attended Night 2 of the concert, and she didn’t wear a silver dress. (Possibly even worse news for Andrew: During a chance encounter, Lea Thompson confirms hover boards aren’t real — or are they?)

At first, Zelda is furious that Andrew violated her privacy, but then she realizes she’s never had a guy try so hard for her. She finally admits to him that it was her he saw that evening at the show — her stupid ex made her go to both nights. Cue flashback to that fateful moment and that magical silver dress because, whoa, did you see those curves?

“I scared myself off,” Zelda confesses to Andrew. “Maybe I could use a little meant-to-be in my life.” And she gets it as he cuts her off with a kiss.

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Out of this season’s rom-coms — Selfie, Marry Me, Manhattan Love StoryA to Z is the most classic, modern love story with a dash of quirky humor. And you just can’t beat the Lea-Thompson-on-a-hover-board tag, which is perhaps the most HIMYM-est things A to Z does in the series premiere. Plus, Feldman and Milioti are so ridiculously adorable together; you have to wonder how Milioti keeps hitting the romantic chemistry jackpot. And when will Andrew and Zelda have ridiculously cute kids together, because I refuse to believe they might break up after those eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour?

As with most rom-coms, the best friends aren’t as well-developed, but I did like this part: After Zelda’s friend Stephie (Being Human‘s Lenora Crichlow) finds out the jazz musician she met is really Andrew’s buddy Stu (The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Henry Zebrowski), the narrator informs us, “Stu met Steffie at a Burlington Coat Factory in Tustin. The odds that she would be Zelda’s best friend: 7 million to one. Destiny cuts both ways.”

And finally, a few of my favorites lines from the pilot:

* Andrew’s boss Lydia (Girls‘ Christina Kirk) has an unexpected reaction to the site’s success rate: “The idea is to keep them paying the monthly fee. They won’t do that if they get married. Keep pushing the new app, folks! They swipe, they click, they hook up!  They swipe, they click, they hook up! They swipe, they click, they hook up!”

* Zelda on the band she and Andrew both saw: “Why do they yell, ‘Hey,’ in every song?”

* Technically, not a quote, but those drink names — the Martini Navratilova, the Martini Luther King Jr. — were a nice touch.

What did you think of A to Z‘s acquaintances? Grade it in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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38 Comments
  1. GuessWhat says:

    I gave it a B — cause I like the two stars — dead mom (SPOILER ALERT) from HIMYM and Ginsburg from MAD MEN.

  2. Tran says:

    I give A to Z an A. Already saw the premiere episode On Demand and it does have potential to become one of the best new sitcoms of the season. Cristin Milioti & Ben Feldman both give amazing chemistry on TV. I totally forgot what character Ben Feldman played on Mad Men.

  3. Mary says:

    So wait…..a lovable boy next door type with dark slightly askew hair and a tendency for over gesturing, falls for a girl? They cross paths more often then possible in a world with a billion people and blame it on fate. They did trade the french horn for a trumpet and the east coast for the west.

    That being said I might just like this version….at least this time we actually see the relationship….

  4. para says:

    loved it….
    a little 500 days of summer taste,
    best new Comedy this fall!
    right with TMP as my must see tv

  5. I enjoyed it. It was sweet and quirky. The narration actually made me think of Pushing Daisies a tiny bit, which was nice. If it keeps hitting that vibe I’m totally in. I never watched HIMYM (and won’t, given what happens at the end), so there’s that.

  6. Alex says:

    PEE YEW! I didn’t laugh once. Another stinker.

  7. Teag says:

    It was good. I like both actors so I’ll stick with it. It’ll most likely be cancelled though, unfortunately.

  8. Ray says:

    It had its moments, but it’s more of a romance than a comedy. The ending was terrible, though. Clearly marketed for women and those few men who dig chick flicks.

  9. Ann says:

    I don’t buy Ben Feldman as a “guy’s guy” or a leading man-type. I think he was miscast. Other than that, I liked the show.

  10. M3rc Nate says:

    It was cute, but not cheesy, and the leads have really good chemistry. I especially like the female lead, liked her on HIMYM and im glad she got this show, i can get my romance/comedy fix from her but not on a HIMYM spin-off.

    Funny how the leads sidekicks have been these bearded gingers that are kinda d-bags and “bros” lately on comedy/romance shows. For example there was one on Mixology.

  11. laurelnev says:

    My DVR cut off at the kiss…what did I miss w/ Lea?

  12. the female cast is good (Lenora Crichlow is awesome as usual), not really convinced on the male side though. we’ll see how it pans out.

  13. As big as my crush for Cristin Miliotti is, teh whole thing felt like a poor man’s HIMYM. The narration, the flashbacks, even the ladies’ man as a best friend… will pass on this one.

  14. Anna says:

    While watching the pilot, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this show before. I mean, even if I ignore the plot that’s, like you’ve said, HIMYM meets (500) Days of Summer – the show is still extremely similar to ABC’s short-lived “Mixology”, right? The introductions of the characters, with the voice-over and the flashbacks and the “this is how they met” and “this was very unlikely to happen” and all? I mean, maybe I’m the only one that noticed it because I was the only one watching Mixology, but it’s still EXTREMELY similar. Just that, y’know, in this case it’s not one night but “eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour”. Still, did ANYONE think the same or am I seeing things?

  15. Tom says:

    I rather enjoyed it, and laughed out loud at the end. I want this to do well.

  16. Infinite says:

    I loved it!

  17. Keith says:

    I gave it an A. The two lead characters have great chemistry.

  18. Joey Padron says:

    First episode was pretty good. I like it.

  19. Zzzz says:

    A to F? I really don’t understand why “those people” waste money on nonsense like this.

  20. leahbh says:

    I’m not a fan of the female lead

  21. When a comedy can be this strong in the premiere it will only get better as the cast gels. Great show!

  22. j says:

    It’s a comfortable and pleasant show to watch, but I don’t know if I’d seek it out to make sure and watch.

  23. I loved it! I’m in as long as NBC promises not to kill off Zelda! :)

  24. I definitely want to see this on – demand! It is SO HIMYM…I mean right down to the “the relationship ends at this time” switcheroo…(because I’m assuming it leads to a proposal) because of COURSE that’s what HIMYM did when it ripped the hearts out of fans, breaking the “Robin is not the Mother; Ted won’t end up with her” premise. Oops, guess I’m not over it (yay alternate ending). But seriously, I LOVE Cristin Milioti …and wish that this show featured her with Josh Radnor, because I’d watch those two crazy kids date again and again!

  25. It was better than I thought it would be.

  26. Amie says:

    The leads are adorable, but the “best friends” are dead cliches walking. Why would Andrew or Zelda be friends with THOSE people? Ditch the friends and I might enjoy it more.

  27. I love it, an A, their chemistry is terrific and I like her sidekick, his, no, he’s jerky. I like the IT kids too, they’re funny and I adore Ben Falcone. I liked Feldman as Ginsburg and also as Fred on Drop Dead Diva.

  28. I like it, but I want to know why every narration has a different amount of time they will date? I thought it might be counting down until they either break up or get engaged, but then it jumped from 5 months up to 7 months between the last episodes. At first, I thought maybe I watched them out of order, but that can’t be because the 5 month left episode wash whenSteffi met the black guy who works with Andrew and then he was in the next episode that said 7 months to go, so I am utterly confused! Is it supposed to be an ever changing life choices kind of thing? Like every choice that happens changes how long they date? But if so they never point that out, so maybe I am just obsessing over nothing? But I feel that it should have a reason to change the dating time stated in every narration…I mean just from a monetary standoint, they ad to pay pay Katy Segal to say all those different times, and pay a sound guy or editor to change it for each elisode! DOES ANYONE KNOW, IT IS MAKING ME INSANE!