We haven't discussed Mixology much here on Bustle in the month since it premiered, and for a few simple reasons Alicia Lutes eloquently illuminated: Mixology is, you know, pretty sexist and unfunny. From lazy jokes about restraining orders to more actively offensive entries riffing on domestic abuse, episodes are chockfull of dialogue meant to be "shocking" or "edgy" but that mostly just makes you cringe. You can almost the see the flop-sweat on the floor of every scene.
Thing is, Mixology's premise is actually pretty solid. Ten singles thrown together who, by the end of the night, will have paired off with each other in (ostensibly) interesting configurations? Unfolding in real time? With a less caustic tone and a more engaging roster of characters, that's a show worth watching! So there's SOMETHING THERE.
And it's with that spirit of optimism that we come to this post. Rather than discuss the many and diverse ways in which Mixology is terrible and not worth your time, we're going to flip that negativity into positive action and prescribe a few simple fixes. Will Mixology get a Season 2? Hahahahahaha. But if it did, in some hypothetical, second-chance-giving TV universe, then we owe it to this show — however little it deserves our help — to guide it toward something resembling okay-ness. Send the drink back, Mixology; we'll make you a fresh one.
1. Completely overhaul the Bruce character
Apologies to the actor playing Bruce, Andrew Santino, who I'm sure is a nice and totally normal guy, but what a shit-brick of a character. Bruce is boorish, obnoxious, gross, and, worst of all, in love with all of these defects, which he willfully acknowledges. The guy is sketched from the "yeah he's terrible, but he knows it, so it's funny!" school of character-building, as though calling attention to a character's awfulness renders them less awful. Here's his best line tonight:
I’m probably going to smash your friend Jessica later, so you’re auditioning for the backup spot.
Fun! This after he's knocked over a woman's pizza and eaten that same pizza off the floor. I rarely want to punch TV characters outside of Nashville's "Luke Wheeler," but Bruce is now assuredly on the list.
3. Actually, generally overhaul most of your characters. Start fresh.
In a cast of 10, you've got at least half who should be junked completely. There's Maya, the asshole man-eating lawyer who prefers a man that might slap her around, "like Don Draper." There's her baby-voiced friend, whose desire to leave her fiancée after meeting some hot but complicated Brit feels grosser each week. The hot douche bartender. The mom from New Jersey whose entire reason for being at this bar makes no sense whatsoever. Everyone's either a type or just someone you can't stand, or both.
You get the sense that the show creators want you to say, "I don't like these people but I know these people, man! We really can be this horrible." And maybe we do know some of these people! But no one wants to spend 10 full episodes with them; even 21 minutes can be trying.
4. More alcohol!
Granted, the whole "one night" premise means that if characters are drinking heavily in every episode it's going to render their night less than totally memorable, and maybe hospitalized, but there's just a whole raft of drinking/bar jokes not being taken advantage of here (and in any case over-ridden by lame sex jokes). Be more like Bar Rescue, on Spike, where alcohol is the point.
5. Anytime you're considering throwing in a lazy sex joke, don't!
Like I wrote at the beginning, it's not even that Mixology is that crazy-offensive... it's that its jokes feel outdated or absurd for a character to be saying. Avoid pretty much every line of dialogue mentioned in this Bustle slideshow and aim for something... I don't know, less easy. Try harder.
6. Spare us the notion that this show is about people finding love
It isn't! You can lead every episode with a self-serious voiceover about "what we do for love" but it doesn't change the fact that this is a show about assholes looking for strange. Not that I don't believe the season will end with some characters finding that love, but it's totally at odds with the cynicism that carries each individual episode. Own the dickishness, or head in another direction entirely. It's that cognitive dissonance we can't stand.
Et voila — your show is better. Season 2, here we come!