When I was in my early 20s, laying on my bed late at night, alone, prospects for finding someone pretty grim (thinking about moving out of country to get a fresh start), I made the following prayer to God: God let me at least meet the person I’m supposed to marry. A sincere, if nonsensical (especially in retrospect), prayer borne of desperation. Not one of my brighter moments. One, it was so vague a prayer as to be little more than gibberish (thank you Jesus for interceding for us). Two, it failed to take into account God’s sense of humor: I had actually met the woman I was going to marry in junior high school. And hated her. Who knew I could have built a show on that premise?

In The Ex-List, Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser, Grey’s Anatomy) learns from a psychic that she has already met the true love of her life. Unfortunately, she has one year to figure out who he is (was) or else she forfeits the chance of the happily ever after of marriage. So, with the help of her friends, she lists all the guys she has dated and begins to re-visit her past.

“I know I’m supposed to be all content, alone, and love my life. My life’s great, but I want to get married.” –Bella

Based on an Israeli TV hit, and taking a page from My Name is Earl, this My Name is Skank, er, Bella works her way through her literal to do (or rather, have done) list on a quest for soulmate love. (In her defense, the show’s exec producer Diane Ruggiero, expands that it could have been anyone that she romantically encountered, including, say, a boy she passed notes to in class).

“There are higher forces at work. I’m just trying to avoid dying alone.” –Bella

Everyone wants to be loved and be loved by someone. Everyone wants to know and be known by someone. When people speak of intimacy–trying to define what it is they are wanting–they talk about genuine trust, vulnerability, and transparency. They want to feel connected to someone. This sense of connectedness is a characteristic that we want in all of our close relationships. We want to share our lives, be accepted, and be intimate with others. Especially an other.

We are hard-wired for intimacy; we’re relational beings. Augustine spoke of a God-sized hole within each of us – essentially that is that built in need for intimacy. Just as there was an intra-Trinitarian intimacy before creation, so–as His image bearers–do we share this need for intimacy. The pursuit of intimacy is similar to our pursuit of God. We seek that communion, that connection with him as well as with others.

“Nice people get hurt every day. Sometimes it’s good for them.” –psychic

Dramedies are tricky beasts. Taking a page from Ugly Betty, with its large cast and layered story lines (the truly laugh out loud moments stemmed from a subplot involving the … topiary … of her friend’s pubic hair), The Ex-List walks a dangerous tightrope. Still, the show is charming and funny, especially when it veers from the vacuity of Bella and her quest. In other words, try to block out the premise of “let me re-visit the string of losers that I broke up with hopefully for good reasons to see if they are salvageable”.

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