Mark's Media Spotlight

Mark's views on what's happening in the media.

Romantically Challenged – A First Look


"Romantically Challenged" stars Alyssa Milano as Rebecca Thomas, Kyle Bornheimer as Perry Gill, Josh Lawson as Shawn Goldwater and Kelly Stables as Lisa Thomas. Premieres April 19th following Dancing With The Stars.

Smart and beautiful Rebecca (Alyssa Milano) is recently divorced after 15 years of marriage. Having never really dated before she was married – and not having been on a date since Clinton was in office — she finds it scary to start over now. Although a gifted mom and lawyer, she is clueless about dating and hopes to get some help from her equally romantically challenged friends.   That’s basically the show in a nutshell.  As you can see for yourself, the premise is pretty thin, even for a sitcom, but then again, the best sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld really didn’t rely on premises for them to work.

You basically have to rely on the core characters and while after the first scene, you may want to run for your remote (and I believe many will), if you stick with this show for a while, you might find the pilot worthwhile enough to tune in again.  First of all, each of the characters had enough likability in them to warrant interest, although most of them were in definite need of some additional development, which is typical, even for the sitcom success stories.  (After all, Cheers, Seinfeld and Friends all debuted to very low numbers for a reason.)  The pilot story premise promoting a one night stand is bound to turn off a lot of the Dancing With The Stars audience that precedes this show, but then again, ABC has no interest in pleasing anyone over the age of 49 with their new sitcoms.

What was impressive about the show is that while Alyssa Milano was the star, the show did not rely on her to carry out each scene.  Kyle Bornheimer, (Worst Week),  Rebecca Thomas and Josh Lawson also have their share of funny moments.  What was not impressive is that we’ve seen this all before.  Josh Lawson’s character in particular seemed to channel “Chandler Bing” from Friends a bit too much, while Rebecca Thomas had a bit too much “Karen Walker” going on in her character for my taste.  The show is directed by James Burrows, who has been responsible for writing and directing classics like Taxi, Cheers and Will & Grace as well.  But for every one of those series, there are 10 others he had a hand in like Men Behaving Badly, Out of Practice, Hank and The Class which were quickly forgotten.

So the question is, will I watch again?  Yes.  It’s not brilliant TV, but it has some potential to eventually become that.  The biggest thing going for Romantically Challenged and the only reason to tune in again is for the chemistry of the cast, which seems to be off to a good start.  (Note, the below promo is incorrect as to the Premiere date, which is now April 19th instead of April 12th)

Will these four romantically challenged friends ever find lasting love? Or even someone who lasts until next Monday?

A bit more character development all the way around and perhaps this show will click.  Right now, I’ll give this show 5 -1 odds in surviving past spring.

The series is created by Ricky Blitt and executive produced by Blitt and James Burrows. Burrows also serves as the show’s director. The series is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. and Candy Bar Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

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April 6, 2010 - Posted by | Romantically Challenged

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