I'm late to the party, and I've only seen a few of this season's episodes, but I think PNR is headed in the right direction with the storyline about incorporating Eagleton. They should've done that shit a long time ago and scrapped the Ben/Leslie shipping, which is and has always been fucking tedious. It nearly derailed the show.
I guess the need for sitcom romance is entirely lost on me. If it's funny, it's a different story, but if it's just cute and otherwise dumb, I don't get it. Staying clear of that bullshit is what differentiates sitcoms worth watching (which is a rare bird) from sitcoms in general. Strell raised KOTH a ways back, and I think it did a lot better job of staying focused and using romance, if it came up, for laughs first and cute bullshit, if it's there, second.
So to come back to PNR, the whole Ron/Xena thing is lost on me, I know they want to "grow" Ron as a character, but it's not working because the core of what makes Ron good and true is not typical to your run-of-the-mill sitcom. Then why force that original character into run-of-the-mill conceits? In one of the recent episodes I saw, Ron wants to get off the grid, and Xena's giving him the biz for "not being there." I'm abusing the out of these airquotes because this is one of those bullshit character growth conventions you see in every sitcom that's come down the pike.
What's it going to take to convince sitcom folks that one-dimensional isn't bad if it's done well? If you don't want it to get old, then pare your episode order down, go all HBO on things and limit your seasons. Just stop doing these rote, trite character arcs and defend the practice by saying, "Well, we had to, it's so hard to come up with content." FIDDLESTICKS!
If you're smart enough to cast Sam Elliott against type as Ron's doppelganger, you're smart enough to get by without leaning on bullshit sitcom conceits. Try harder.