Never begin a relationship with a lie.
That's not wisdom I got from watching ABC's new sitcom “Mixology,” which actually preaches quite the opposite. “Mixology” strongly advocates that the best way to get laid involves some level of performativity or outright lying.
So maybe it's appropriate, actually, that “Mixology” begins literally every episode with a lie.
“This is the story of 10 strangers, one night and all the ridiculous things we do to find love,” declares the opening voiceover to “Mixology.”
“Mixology” is as much about people on a quest for love as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is about an archeologist on a quest for snakes.
When you get down to it, “Mixology” is about 10 hateful people looking for sex, irrespective of the lack of chemistry between either the characters or the actors. Set across one night, “Mixology” is desperately invested in making you care whether or not sex will happen, but desperately uninvested in giving you any reason to care who it will happen between or why it will happen. “Mixology,” thanks to its structure and its deadbeat assortment of characters, is about sex as horrifying and almost nihilistic inevitability.
I've watched six episodes of “Mixology” and if it were a better show, you would think it might be attempting to subvert the pervasive practice of shipping among certain TV fans. Part of what makes certain shows popular is audience members doing everything within their limited power to bring certain characters together, even if the rules of the show don't seem to be built around bringing those characters together. “Mixology,” if it were actually intentionally subversive, might intentionally be functioning the opposite way.
Viewer: “But I don't WANT [Boring Man] and [Bitchy Girl] to get together.”
“Mixology”: “Tough. If they don't have sex at the end of 13 episodes, a nuclear bomb will be detonated in Valencia.”
See, that's how you produce stakes in a show that has a ticking clock.
Will Jack Bauer save the West Coast from the rogue Secretary of State piloting a helicopter weighed down by Axe body spray canisters filled with herpes? I'll watch 24 hours of TV to make sure that doesn't happen.