Meet Carlos. He's a cute lawyer, who meets a girl in a holding cell named Mae. Mae, in a fit of happiness, climbed on top of a garbage truck and took off her top, getting arrested. Carlos helps her get the charges dropped, and she happily leaves the courthouse, bumping into Whitney. Whitney is a high strung PR executive who tries to hire a down-and-out photographer who used to be brilliant, named Steven. She's got a cute British boyfriend who may or may not be cheating on her, but winds up proposing, and since nothing is more romantic than an accusation of philandering, she says yes. While she's getting a manicure, she meets Laura. Laura's a single mother whose journalist husband was recently killed in Iraq and who needs to figure out something to do with her life. In order to do so, she hires a new nanny -- Claire, who is really Mae, who is now sporting brown hair, who is on the run from someone because of something she's got in a box. (Oh yeah, it's a J.J. Abrams show, all right.)
Carlos, while trying to find Mae, meets Damien. He borrows Damien's coat to get into a club, and when he comes back out, finds Damien being beat up by some thugs and comes to his rescue. Damien needs money and goes to work for his no-good brother, who is after someone shown in a photo, who is none other than Mae. Rather than think about that, he goes for drinks with Carlos, where they admire the macking skills of a couple in the corner. Guess who? The coincidence is amazing and totally unexpected -- it's Whitney's cheating, British now-fiancÃ©. It's almost as if these people are connected somehow, like that gameâ¦ something to do with Kevin Bacon, maybe?
A very cute Jay Hernandez waits for a train, and as it arrives and he gets on, he begins voiceover. Thursday night ABC shows do love their voiceover. "Let me ask you this. Do you think you can fall in love with someone that you don't really know at all?" I don't know, Jay, why would you ask? "The reason I ask... " (Oh, good.) "I live in New York city. With almost 8 million other people. And I always thought, who knows? The person sitting next to you on the subway could be your soulmate." His soulmate, in this instance, is a withered old woman in kooky clothes, staring and nodding her head a bit. Hot damn. "My point is, the instant before you do meet them, they're a stranger to you."
The camera swoops up through the ground -- which I was about to make fun of until I realized I never actually picture people zooming around in subways underneath the people who are jogging, or eating, or sleeping above. And at that moment, up above him Whitney is jogging. The show won't actually reveal her name until later, but in the interest of avoiding pronouns, I'm giving it up now. As Jay -- well, Carlos, again not revealed but it's his name and that's fine -- goes on and on and ON about being inspired by strangers, Whitney waits at a crosswalk and sees a stack of books left on a Village Voice stand. She doesn't seem to think it's strange that someone left a stack of paperbacks on the corner and instead pulls a card out from between the pages of one of them, that has a beautiful black and white photo of a couple on a park bench. She glances at the back -- blank -- and then continues jogging, carrying it with her.
Carlos continues, "You can walk past the same building every day and not even realize that the person who lives there is one day gonna be your best friend." As Whitney runs by, we zoom inside and see Laura sitting on a couch. I have some sort of strange intuition telling me that these two women might end up as friends sometime. I can't explain why, given the subtlety of the show so far, but we'll see what comes to pass. Laura is sitting inside in a nightgown, and pain is written all over her face. She's watching TV and what looks like coverage of the Iraq war, and her whole body exudes pain and sadness. Carlos adds, "Maybe someone who desperately needs a best friend.
"It's my favorite thing about new York. You've got some people on top of the world." The camera flies through some very CGI buildings and into a window where a man is passed out on a bed, surrounded by cardboard boxes and one large empty tequila bottle. "Others are scraping rock bottom." And finally, some might be "trying to clean up their act, as tough as that might be." A driver reads a newspaper leaning against his Towncar. In some clever timing, a garbage truck comes around the corner on its cue of "clean." A crowd of friends is laughing and walking down the street as he finishes, "Or maybe someone living their life with reckless abandon." The girl in front is Mae, and we're supposed to believe that her heeeedeous wig is her real blonde hair. Note to the hair department: try hiding the wig tape a little better next time, then. And maybe spring for a real hair version? You are on ABC in the coveted Thursday 10 PM timeslot. I'm just saying. Mae runs after the truck, pulling off her purple coat and throwing it down in the wet street to show her halter top underneath. She runs alongside the truck and tries to haul herself up. Why the truck doesn't STOP when it's only going about four miles an hour is beyond me, but they drive merrily along as she crawls up to the top. Once up there, the spirit of... garbage? inspires her and she rips off her halter top and waves her hands in the air. Like she just don't care, even. The truck just merrily cruises on towards Washington Square Park and the arch, with Mae as a Rolls Royce hood ornament gracing the top.