Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life: How to Survive Being a Plus One (Review)

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life may just have the most annoyingly long title on television at the moment.


Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life may just have the most annoyingly long title on television at the moment. Add to the series title  the “rest” of it, i.e. the episode title; in this case “How to Survive Being a Plus One,” and reviewing this new FOX comedy series  becomes an exercise in frustration… Leaving the title issues alone, episode 103, with its “24” Jack Bauer style comedy in the middle, is funny, cute and still entertaining.

(And how many times can one put the word title in a paragraph? Four.)

Perhaps this reviewer is easily entertained, or satisfied. Cooper Barrett’s “How to Survive Being a Plus One” and its “24” theme may have been an overly long riff on the old adage “Dance with the guy what brung ya,” but the humor still works.  Even without the Jack Bauer spiel, which was good, the episode rocked it in terms of comedy and the continuing “romance” between Cooper (Jack Cutmore-Scott) and Kelly (Meaghan Rath).

The episode opens with Cooper and Kelly in the back of a truck and Barrett explains about being invited to different places.  When Cooper asks the Mexican they are sharing the truck bed with how long till they arrive, he explains that the couple are sitting in “goat poop.”


Appears at the same time Kelly, Barry (the lovable a**), Neal and Cooper are drinking in a bar. The next-door neighbor, who every heterosexual male in America would kill for, reveals that her ex is getting married to a girl “named after a small orange” in Mexico.

The three men express surprise that Kelly was in a long (four year) relationship and she responds:

“I wasn’t always the fun-loving single girl that warms a room with a smile, a wink and a hair flip. You know.”

(Kelly flips her hair, smiles, laughs and winks)

Barry: “Adorable.”

Neal: “What are you doing?”

Cooper: “Are you having a stroke?”

This particular part of the episode managed to cram a number of funny lines into an incredibly short space.  Winning gag of the set  = Cooper’s response to the wedding invitation’s musical clue as to where Thom and Clem are getting married:

“In a Telenovela?”

Before the bar scene ends, Cooper becomes the plus one for Kelly and


Neal and Barry are having a 24 hour binge marathon of “24,”  and Kelly has picked out,  and packed,  Cooper’s three obligatory wedding outfits:

Kelly: “You have three looks: Wedding Ain’t No Thing, Reception Sophistication and my personal favorite, Good-bye Brunch Chic.”

Cooper then goes out to do last minute shopping and his car is towed away as well as  impounded. Thus begins the “24” Jack Bauer themed middle part of the episode where first Neal, and then Barry, don the headset, key the laptop and send help. Not surprisingly the help comes in the form of big brother Josh (Justin Bartha) and then his wife Leslie (Liza Lapira).

After a funny scene where Kelly and Cooper hide in Barry’s ice cream truck to sneak  inside the impound lot and then barely escape with their luggage and passports the “24” theme continues when Kelly’s dress is ruined.

Finally, Josh, Leslie, Barry, and Neal all join Kelly and Cooper in Josh’s car and they drive to the wedding.  However, in keeping with the “everything that can go wrong will” aspect of this show, the car develops a flat and the Bishop and Barrett have to hop a lift in the goat poop truck.

The wedding trip cut short.

While this episode lacks the high profile of a special guest like Paula Abdul, it provides a certain cohesion for Barrett, Bishop, Josh, and Leslie in term of character identification and an amount of fleshing out.

What makes Cooper work so well as a character is his initial desperation, at any given problem, and then his complete and total belief that what ever asinine, or desperate last minute plan he comes up with will work.  Cooper has faith that everything will work out, if not as a result of his first plan, then “Plan B” will save the day.

So far, Barrett has been proven right…

Bishop may look like the girl next door but this adorable cuteness hides a micro-managing woman who will take control  at the first opportunity.  She also has recognized that Cooper may well be her perfect match and it is clear that she will work to make this happen.

Older brother Josh proves in this episode that while he may not be willing to spend any more cash on his brother, he will go all out to help where he can. Even going so far as to romance a TSA agent. Leslie also shows that she will help out, in this case providing her new bestie Kelly  a replacement frock and that she has a sense of humor.

At the wedding ceremony, which was cancelled because the orange girl dropped out, Josh’s cell phone rings and he tells Leslie:

“Oh, I should get this. It’s this TSA agent I might have to have sex with.”

Leslie (without skipping a beat): “Cool. I might make out with the mariachi band.”

In Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life things have a way of turning out okay.  It seems that his eternal optimism is not misplaced at all.  In terms of the “will they, won’t they” thing between Kelly and Cooper it really feels more like a “when they.”

Kelly and Cooper more “when they” than “will they…”

It may well be that MikesFilmTalk is the only site that really appreciates this new FOX offering. Other sites have been pretty “meh” about the whole series thus far.  Perhaps they do not get a show where one does not have to “reach” for the gags, or it is hard for them to see the beauty of the quirkiness and toned down Animal House, National Lampoon vibe going on.

(One feels that Cooper Barrett may well be “Van Wilder” (sans Ryan Reynolds of course) all grown up.)

This is a fun series and one that crosses the Ts and dots the Is.  Consider this; Josh is driving and singing to “The Weekend” song “Can’t Feel My Face” (when I’m with you) when Neal does his “24” and calls big bro to help out Cooper. Later, at the very end of the episode, the wedding band play and sing their own version of “Can’t Feel My Face.”

What is not to like?

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life airs Sundays on FOX. Tune in and join the 2.45 million folks who do like the show.  Warning: Prepare to get a huge crush on Meghan Rath’s character Kelly…




Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (Review)

After watching the first two episodes of Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (How to Survive Your Lovable Jackass and How to Survive Insufficient Funds) one is left with the conclusion that show creator Jay Lacopo has a hit on his hands.


After watching the first two episodes of Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (How to Survive Your Lovable Jackass and How to Survive Insufficient Funds) one is left with the conclusion that show creator Jay Lacopo has a hit on his hands. The pacing is good, the episodes so far are outlandishly funny and the characters addictive.

Granted, Meghan Rath as new neighbor Kelly Bishop is the most addictive thing about the show. How can one not fall in love with a  smart arse female athlete who, when coming face-to-face with her 30-something boring boyfriend manages to say “Tampon” so adorably?

The show’s theme tune is very addictive and two episodes in,  the storylines are odd, quirky and damned funny. The pilot introduced all the characters to the viewer in the  form of a house warming party. We meet the cute neighbor, Neal gets a new Amazon girlfriend  and the 64 inch flat screen television is stolen during the epic celebration.

Not to mention that in episode two, the guest cameo is Paula Abdul…Dude! (Sorry had to get that out…)

On a subplot level, the three roomies, and Cooper’s brother partake of Barry’s grandmother’s hangover cure, after the party, and realize that it is pretty special stuff.  As Barry is the “Lovable Jackass” we follow his obsession with the stolen TV, which he “spots’ two years later, in a UFC hangout.

Overall, the pilot has Cooper being kidnapped by the skin-headed UFC gang. The idea is to trade the telly for Barrett. Cooper’s older brother Josh (Justin Bartha) buys the gang a new   3D ready television to trade for his younger sibling. 

By the time the end credits roll, the three roommates decide to mass produce Barry’s grandmother’s hangover cure and become entrepreneurs.  The viewer learns that the UFC guys that Barry (James Earl) believed stole their new TV did not, it was the landlord.

Honorable mention: Finding Meghan Rath in your dryer…

Standout Moments in the pilot:

Cooper (Jack Cutmore-Scott) being left behind after they grab the television from the UFC hangout.

The Kiss-Cam at the Clippers Game where Barrett and Bishop share a “jokey” kiss only to have it turn into something else and Cooper’s blurting out:

“I gotta take a leak…”

Almost all the conversation between Kelly and Cooper.


Meghan Rath’s look at the Kiss-Cam after Cooper rushes off.

Cooper’s attempted escape with the hood on his head.

Josh getting knocked out, while driving,  after saying:

“Don’t make me come back there.”

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, episode two – How to Survive Insufficient Funds sees Cooper, Barry, Neal (Charlie Saxtonand Josh at a posh bar. They are celebrating the move to entrepreneurship and after the big brother leaves, a blonde comes up and invites the remaining trio to the VIP area.

Four bottles of bubbly later, the lads owe $1,400 and lack the funds to pay. Josh has to bail his brother out and the fellas have no money for rent.  Their landlord immediately posts an eviction notice and the guys are desperate to get their hangover cure off the ground and pay their rent.

Meanwhile, Kelly babysits for Josh and Leslie (Liza Lapira) and hits it off with Josh’s wife.  Just as the two ladies seem to be bonding very well, Leslie blows it and asks Josh to sort things out. She forces her husband to attend Kelly’s sports treatment clinic and he, like Leslie, blows it. 

The three new businessmen, who are about to be evicted from their apartment, get a chance to make money from a “Barry Idea.” Barry learns from a homeless guy that drug trials pays big money and after the landlord turns off the power to the apartment, the three decide to give it a try.

Leaving the drug testing facility, with enough cash to fix all their problems, the guys look over the “side-effects” from the trial: Itching, sweating and hallucinations. They then bump into Paula Abdul in the car park. Cooper immediately approaches the star to see if she will support their product.

Paula Abdul “Give me all your money.”

Standout Moments in Episode Two:

Josh touching Kelly’s breast during the treatment.

The guys getting robbed by “Paula Abdul” in the car park after she does a promotional video for the product and seconds after Cooper finishes filming,  Abdul turns into a long-haired toothless, homeless man.

The adult “get together” with Kelly and Brinley her associate, Josh and Leslie.

The guys deciding that the homeless guy’s adage of “desperate times, desperate measures” is a good one.

The entire sequence where Barry, Cooper and Neal break into the bank.

Paula Abdul.

Josh checking with Leslie when he tells Brinley that “this is not happening.”

By the end of the episode, Cooper breaks the fourth wall again to relate the lessons learned.  Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life is, thus far, funny, clever, a little “outside the box,” hip and musically catchy (as in score.)

This airs Sundays on FOX and is yet one more comic hit for the network. Tune in and prepare to be very entertained…and to laugh a lot.


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