Photo: Brandon Hickman/NBC.
Forget the NSA and Big Brother. There's a new, more intimate way to stalk people, and NBC rom-com A to Z helpfully taught viewers all about it on last night's episode. First, though, let's catch you up.
On last week's pilot episode, hopeless romantic Andrew (Ben Feldman) met and instantly fell for practical Zelda (Cristin Milioti). Well, re-met. The two had previously locked eyes at a concert a few years ago, and Andrew just knew they were beshert. Zelda, whose mother's string of failed relationships led to constant upheaval during her childhood, was a little more hesitant to go for what appears to be the most adorable, kind, and caring male fabricated by television writers in recent memory. But, Andrew and his dimples wore Zelda down, and the two spent a magical night kissing by a fountain and talking.
Last night's episode portrayed the aftermath — if such a traditionally ugly word can be applied to a tied-in-a-bow ending to a sweet meet-cute. Basically, Andrew and Zelda are both experiencing the heady rush of new love, and they want to be exclusive. Since this is a television show that requires drama, however, such a tacit commitment cannot be made. Not until NBC renews it for a second season, at least.
Silly Andrew forgot that he'd agreed to go out with a coworker (Brooke, from marketing) before he met Zelda. He feels obliged to keep the date because Brooke just broke up with her boyfriend and seems very fragile. Plus, his ginger sidekick, Stu, keeps reminding him that Andrew can't give Zelda all the power in their gestating relationship.
Ever the gallant gentleman, Andrew calls Zelda to see if she's okay with him going out with Brooke. She says it's fine, but really it's not. So, with the encouragement of her coworker/BFF, Stephie, Zelda scrounges up a date with someone from her office.
You know where this is going: the "two people blatantly meant for one another are forced to go on dates with other people" rom-com plotline. It's a pretty standard trope, one that will obviously involve their BFFs/sidekicks getting involved and running interference. But, A to Z gives it a decidedly 2014 twist.
Rather than pretending the Internet doesn't exist (like so many shows do) or making one of the characters hopelessly inept when it comes to gadgets (cough, Manhattan Love Story, cough), A to Z introduces the terrifying concept of "app-stalking."
See, not only can you Google and Facebook your one true love's harlot (which Zelda and her best friend do), you can also track her digital footprint through apps. Andrew wants to know where Zelda is going on her date, and he's able to find out by using Waze, a traffic app he downloaded four days ago. "When he did so, it asked permission to search his contacts for fellow Waze-ers. Zelda was one," says omniscient narrator Katey Sagal.
This means that while Brooke drones on about her ex-boyfriend's fondue career, Andrew is tracking Zelda's activity on Waze. He calls Stu — who's at home perfecting the "gentle, gentle art of sushi" — to ascertain the ambiance of said restaurant. Is it romantic? Don't worry, sidekick is able to abandon his pursuit of salmon sashimi to go to the restaurant and find out Zelda's date's penis size at the urinal. That's not creepy at all.
Meanwhile, Stephie is stalking Andrew's date, who reviews everything on Yelp — even Bank of America. Zelda's not interested, though. "Andrew can do what he wants...I don't need to app-stalk him," she tells her friend. Still, she wants her to stay on the case. Maybe check Brooke's Instagram after the meal to see if they went to a second location to get gelato. Or, if she listens to "Let's Get It On" on Spotify later that night. 'Cause that can only mean one thing: Brooke and Andrew went straight to the bone zone.
Yes, "app-stalking" — that's where we are now, romantic comedy-wise. Monitor your true love's movements on Waze. Judge his date based on her Yelp reviews. Technology sure is great...for fictional misunderstandings standing in the way of true love.