The concept for NBC’s new series Ordinary Joe isn’t new. We’ve seen it before on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Glee, but only as episode-long depictions. However, in the series premiere of Ordinary Joe, we’re thrown into an entire show focused on the concept of “what if.”
Any pilot has the daunting task of properly setting its precedence and tone for the rest of the series and providing enough intrigue to audiences. This is where Ordinary Joe shines. The basic premise explores the main character Joe’s (James Wolk) three potential paths pursuing: a relationship with a new acquaintance Amy (Natalie Martinez), his best friend Jenny (Elizabeth Lail), or neither and choosing a career as a police officer.
The paths, although have separate outcomes, are very much intertwined offering a This Is Us feel. But that’s what I enjoyed the most.
Through voiceovers, we’re introduced to each character. Voiceovers are an interesting touch and seem like a choice made out of ease by the producers so viewers are quickly aware of Joe’s world. Additionally, the mini pauses in the editing seem out of place for a show like this. I would expect it in a comedy like Grown-ish, but in a drama, it’s a bit tacky.
In Joe’s ideal life, he’s become the next Billy Joel and marries Amy who’s pregnant with twins. This chapter seems the most blissful. It’s later revealed that Amy and Joe have been trying for years to have a baby, and unfortunately, they lose the twins, prompting a major problem in their relationship.
At the 10-year college reunion, Joe’s reunited with Jenny. They engage in a long-overdue chat where she tells him that years ago she was pregnant with his son and ultimately gave him up for adoption.
The second path shares his life with Jenny. They have a young handicapable son, Chris, and because of their desperate need to fund his medical bills, they’ve settled into careers that make for an unhappy life. Jenny serves Joe divorce papers and gives him 40 days to prove to her that they should stay together.
As an intertwined fate, instead of directly protecting the congressman who’s attacked, he’s the nurse put on the case to save his life.
And as an added bonus, Eric is married to Amy. Both of whom are scheming to get Jenny and Joe’s marriage back on track.
In the event that Joe chose his family and followed in his father’s footsteps as an NYPD officer, he’s a single and childless man only growing older, as his mother likes to remind him.
This allows him to make a delayed choice between Amy and Jenny. However, he’s still left to make the same decision as he was dealt 10 years prior.
It’s obvious the scales are tipped in favor of Jenny. In every possible outcome, Jenny’s always a possibility. Their history is extensive and no matter what decision Joe makes, it doesn’t change the fact that Jenny remains pregnant with his son. Now whether or not he will be a part of his son’s life, that’s the biggest question.
What did you think of the premiere? Don’t forget to leave your comments down below!
- Despite the possible divergent paths beginning at the graduation ceremony, there are still endless choices within each storyline for things to go awry proving that life is dependent on much more than a singular decision.
- I know James Wolk is only 36, but why does he look so old?! It’s almost laughable how unrealistic he looks as a graduating undergrad.
- The reality of COVID is nowhere near the end, but Chris’s mention of COVID was extremely unexpected.
- Joe’s reaction toward Jenny putting up their son for adoption was unappreciated. The entitlement he displays is offputting and his disregard for the laws, because he’s a superstar, is a no for me.
Ordinary Joe Review: Mask On Mask Off (1×05)
It’s Halloween time on Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 5, “Mask On Mask Off,” and some unsettling secrets were revealed! Initially, I thought this show was going to be a wholesome ponderance about different life choices. Little did I know we were going to get some big drama.
While the show’s narrative is mostly third person, there’s no doubt it’s focused on Joe. The challenge is balancing three storylines and furthering multiple characters while providing more than a one-dimensional cast. Ordinary Joe understands the assignment but struggles to execute it well.
Through flashbacks, Eric’s coming out story is explored. It wasn’t a terrible scene, but nothing special. The dialogue between young Joe and young Eric was a bit cheesy, with Joe responding to Eric’s news, saying, “how can I support you?” It’s a nice moment shared, but there could have been more.
Even as Eric’s identity is explored, it’s not at the center of this episode, so it instead feels like a throwaway storyline.
Couples therapy seemed to have smoothed things over in Jenny and Joe’s marriage, and Jenny rescinded the divorce papers. We knew it was going to happen. They’re just too good together. Although, Joe’s marriage to Amy in the red storyline is struggling and hitting new lows.
Joe continued to withhold his big secret from Amy, despite being relentless in connecting with Zeke. But, as expected, Bobby was the one to tell Amy that Joe’s been seen with Jenny a few too many times. In this red storyline, I thought Bobby was safe and not so overt with his attraction to Amy. However, during the Halloween soiree for her campaign, he puts on the googly eyes, and yep, they sleep together.
It would be easy to blame Amy’s infidelity on simply trying to hurt Joe the same way he hurt her, but it goes beyond that. Not to excuse Amy, but it’s clear her marriage with Joe hasn’t been fulfilling, and she’s looking for love and support from someone, and a few drinks later, Bobby is that person.
Although, to say I’m upset about this would be a lie. As Eric noted, Jenny and Joe are not friends. They have too much history together. And according to the quote by Rumi, “lovers don’t finally meet somewhere, they’re in each other all along.”
Perhaps this is why the green storyline is the most wholesome and least dramatic. Amy’s happily married to Eric, and there’s no thought about infidelity. Jenny and Joe are meant to be together, so the only conflict is between them, with no outside forces. It will be interesting to see how distance affects their relationship, though.
Meanwhile, in the blue storyline, Joe and Jenny play detective and look into Bobby’s history with Carrie, his old intern. Amy’s offended at the accusation at first, but when Bobby lies to her about there being others, she knows it’s a pattern.
Bobby’s got it coming for him, so he better watch his back. I hate that he’s a snake, but there has to be a least one in a show, and unfortunately, he is the easiest candidate.
What did you think of the newest installment? Which is your favorite storyline? Please don’t forget to leave your comments down below!
- Chris and Moh are mirror images of Joe and Eric. Also, the audition scene was incredible. No way Moh sounds that terrible. But, it’s good to see Chris at school and in an environment other than his house.
- We didn’t know Joe had an estranged sister, Camille, right? There must be a reason they lightly touched on it.
- Eric’s bisexual representation is certainly needed on TV right now. So, it’s good to see them highlight a bisexual, biracial man.
Ordinary Joe Review: Shooting Star (1×04)
It’s undeniable that Joe and Jenny’s history and old friendship keeps their lives close. Even when Jenny got married and started a life with another man. Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 4, “Shooting Star,” takes a closer look at their relationship in every storyline and ignites a spark, further confirming that they are meant to be.
Despite Jenny’s marriage to separate men in the red and blue storylines, we’re hardly given a glimpse into those relationships. Rather, we’re provided additional scenes shining a spotlight on Jenny and Joe’s gravitational pull. The gentle hand touches between the two aren’t just friendly.
Through their sustained connection and even in their marital problems, the storytelling deepens their character’s evolutions. The green storyline provides a future in which they both suspend their dreams and stick together to raise their son together. However, later on, Jenny finally gets a second chance to pursue that lifelong goal, which she turns down again. But, Joe’s not going to let that happen, despite his envy.
Will the family move to Atlanta? If they do, this could very well save their relationship. No more halting their lives and aspirations to do the right thing. Because they’re slowly realizing the right thing is to support one another in anything the other wants. Plus, Chris is the most intuitive child and understands the sacrifices his parents made to take care of him.
Meanwhile, Jenny and Joe are working together to gain contact with their son Zeke. The emotional moment shared between the two once they finally saw him leaving school, was extremely powerful. The show does a great job providing windows into the intimate moments shared between characters. Again, mimicking This Is Us.
While Amy’s garnering attention and important press for her campaign, Joe’s slowly distancing himself. He’s already chosen Jenny over Amy once before and makes the same decision again. If his marriage to Amy isn’t in the dumps yet, it certainly will be soon.
It’ll be interesting to see where they take plan on taking this storyline. I really hope Jenny and Joe stay their distance from Zeke. But, it doesn’t seem like Joe wants that. Legally though, I’m not sure what he can do, and I wonder what that will mean for Jenny and Joe’s future.
We’re only four episodes in and this show already has me spiraling about the various ways my life could be different if I went left instead of right. Although, the show also forces us to reckon with how the choices we make have the power to impact others’ lives too.
Finally, in the blue storyline, Bobby turns evil. There haven’t been any bad guys on the show so far, so it had to be done. Bobby’s questionable relationships with his staffers leave Jenny and Joe suspicious and onto another investigation together.
Jenny and Joe are basically partners in every parallel universe. They can’t be stopped. But Jenny’s fascination with Joe in this storyline seems to come out of a place of apprehension surrounding her secret.
I predict a bad reaction from Joe when he finds out Lucas is his son. Because in this show no secret goes left uncovered. And poor Amy, Joe’s already made up his mind and deleted hr number without letting her explain to him the situation between her and Bobby.
I would hate Bobby more if I didn’t like Jenny and Joe so much.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Were you surprised by the questions against Bobby? Do you think he had something to do with the death of the woman? Don’t forget to leave your comments down below1
- I love the commitment to making each storyline stick to the color. Jenny and her father’s all red wardrobe was a bold statement.
- “I want to take one of those selfies.”
- I’d love to know the decision-making process in naming Chris Zeke and Lucas in the other storylines. There has to be a significance behind those names. After all, Chris was named after Joe’s late father.
- The final shot of the shooting store flying through each universe was an incredible touch.
Ordinary Joe Review – Jenny’s Birthday (1×03)
The sheer time and effort put into telling three different storylines will always amaze me. And each week, this show continues to do just that. With three different plots weaving in and out, you’d expect little progress to be made. However, Ordinary Joe, “Jenny’s Birthday,” manages to make impactful strides forward, continuing its pursuit of a determined path.
Joe’s history has been thoroughly established in the first two episodes. We’ve been introduced to his mother, the unfortunate demise of his father, and all of his relationships. Now, it’s time for other characters to be further developed, and this episode attempts to dig deeper into Jenny’s life. Jenny’s birthday is a day that holds a lot of history between Joe and Jenny, in every universe. Especially during a turbulent period in their relationship, Joe needs to step it up.
Apparently, this is a common theme across all of his parallel universes, as his marriage with Amy is also struggling. In both marriages, he only focuses on what he wants rather than considering everything and everyone.
The writer’s decision to develop this character flaw so early on was a great choice. It allows for viewers to connect to Joe’s humanity and frankly makes his character a bit annoying.
Overwhelmingly, rockstar Joe is his most entitled and distasteful version. His pushiness to make contact with his son and using whatever resource he can because he has the means to do so is downright ugly.
We haven’t received much insight into Joe before he hit the fork in the road, so it’s hard to decipher whether or not he has changed or stayed the same. Although, Mr. Banks and Jenny seem to think hasn’t changed at all. The history with Mr. Banks is a bit ambiguous as well, it’s evident there’s a bit of a rocky connection between him and Jenny.
It seems most relevant to unpack this relationship, and I imagine Mr. Banks will become a more integral character.
As for Joe’s relationship with Amy, his unwillingness to support her campaign will surely bite him in the butt. His decision to attend Jenny’s birthday over his wife’s career-changing event is telling. When he finally tells Amy about his son, that is certainly going to cause a blow up.
While things are rough between Amy and Joe in their marriage, things are going great for Officer Joe and Amy in the blue timeline. Things are quickly progressing, but it’s predictable Congressman Diaz won’t back down.
On another note, I can’t get over the feeling that Jenny has feelings for Joe as well, but maybe it’s just her reservations knowing Lucas is his son.
Whatever they might be, this third storyline is the most unsuspecting. It’s hard to piece together what path he’s on. All we know is that he’s stuck in his childhood house, living out a career his father would’ve been proud of.
Is it far off to say that Jenny’s husband hasn’t been given much screentime, so I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Joe and Jenny reconnected and she ended up leaving her husband? Perhaps that’s just my desire because I totally ship Joe and Jenny!
The writers have done a fantastic job providing endless possibilities for each storyline, and leaving certain elements foreseeable. There’s a decent balance between the two, leaving enough curiosity for me to continue watching.
What questions are you hoping are answered in the next episode? Comment below your thoughts on tonight’s episode!
- Ughh, what a great scene between Amy and Jenny! There are minimal interactions between the two and they’re so awkwardly cordial, I eat that up. So, seeing Jenny’s passive-aggressive comment on her having dated Joe in college and Amy dating him now was pure gold. Please, we need more of these crossovers.
- Is it really possible to not have any recollection of a date? Amy’s surely playing Eric right?!
- Joe’s rockstar form is NOT his cutest. I beg to differ that he’s the cutest in his police form.
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