ABC Family has charted a successful course through the thicket of programming on basic cable by knowing its audience and generally being smart enough not to push the envelope too far, without dumbing things down at the same time.
“Kevin From Work,” premiering Wednesday, is a derivative but amusing sitcom about a young guy with an unrequited crush on an office-mate named Audrey (Paige Spara) who leaves him little cartoon faces on Post-it notes every day.
Kevin aches to tell Audrey how he feels, but she already has a boyfriend, a doofus named Brock (Matthew Florida). Kevin confides his romantic conundrum to his BFF Brian, (Matt Murray), who isn’t the kind of guy to think much about anything before he acts.
Fortunately, Kevin has found a way out of pining all day for the girl on the other side of the cubicle wall: He gets a job in Italy, which gives him the courage to tell Audrey the truth. Well, a lot of alcohol is also a factor, but in any event, Audrey knows and Kevin can go off to Italy and not have to face her anymore.
Except that, now he’s not. The job falls through and now he has to go back to his old job, and face Audrey every day.
Kevin (Noah Reid) is the nice guy who you know will wind up with the girl but not until he’s run the gantlet of predictable awkwardness once she finds out about his true feelings.
What should feel old-hat doesn’t because of the appealing cast, including Jordan Hinson as Kevin’s younger sister Roxie. Amy Sedaris is also in the cast but hits a sour, over-the-top note as Kevin’s inappropriate, hot-mess boss. She is meant to add edge to the show’s soft familiarity, but her harsh presence sucks up some of the credibility the “500 Days of Summer”-ish plot has.
ABC Family made only one episode available for review, but while that’s rarely enough to judge a show, that’s not the case with “Kevin.” You know exactly what you’ll get from creator Barbara Adler within five minutes, and that’s not bad at all.
“Kevin at Work” airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC Family.