Why to watch “Call Me Kat”

“Call Me Kat” is on Fox at 9/8c. (Fox Media / free use)

I’m always searching for a show that’s “so bad it’s good.”  To me, it’s thrilling to walk the line between intrigue and insanity, never sure if I’ll make it to the end of the season or become so dumbfounded that I’m forced to stop watching for good. Having been a connoisseur of so-called “trash television” for many years, I thought that I had seen it all. However, the FOX television series “Call Me Kat” has managed to surprise me for its ability to be so obviously, mind numbingly awful and yet still garner my respect and adoration.  

The show follows Kat Silver (Mayim Bialik), who, following the death of her father, leaves her unfulfilling job as a math teacher to open up a cat cafe. As a 39 year old single woman, Kat struggles to live up to the expectations of conventional society. Her mother, Sheila (Swoozie Kurtz), sees her daughter’s single status as a referendum on her own parenting skills and constantly encourages Kat to settle down. What makes Kat so intriguing is that she doesn’t want to settle down just for the sake of fitting in. Instead, she is, for the most part, comfortable with her life: something that I found refreshing to watch. Working alongside Kat in the cafe are her friends Phil (Leslie Jordan) and Randi (Kyla Pratt). Unlike Kat, whose determination to be true to herself no matter what life throws at her is captivating to watch, these two lacked the necessary depth to be interesting beyond their ability to make me smile (which Phil did on a regular basis).

Although “Call Me Kat” is full of elements that could equate to good television (i.e. a talented leading lady and unique plot), few have been utilized well enough to work on screen. For instance, Kat addresses the audience directly throughout each episode. In small doses, her interactions with the viewers help to enhance the lovable quirkiness of the show. However, she breaks the fourth wall with such frequency that it quickly becomes irritating. As hilarious as Bialik’s commentary can be, the more often it occurred the more eager I became to get back to the action of the main plot. 

Then there’s the issue of Kat’s crush, Max Kingbird (Cheyenne Jackson). While I have no issue with a little romance, and even relish the drama and excitement it can bring to a narrative, the fact that a love interest was introduced almost immediately into Kat’s life is concerning to me. Just as soon as we become accustomed to Kat’s vibrant cat cafe and vivacious confidence in her single status, along comes Max, an old flame from her college years who Kat is immediately re-infatuated with. Whenever he is present the narrative shifts from one of radical self love, to the altogether less original “gotta-get-the-guy” love story. Though it would have been more entertaining if the show built upon the uniqueness that Bialik’s character brings without throwing a potential boyfriend into the mix, the show saves itself by spending ample time exploring what life is like for Kat as a single person. 

Despite its faults, I applaud “Call Me Kat” for trying to do something different. In a world where plots get recycled so many times they lose all of their amusement, it’s thrilling to see a new narrative play out. For this reason, I recommend “Call Me Kat” wholeheartedly for anyone who’s looking for originality and lots of laughs.