Saturday, September 29, 2007

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Carpoolers - Premieres October 2; Solomon's Weekly Rant: The Premiere Delay of New Fall Shows

Carpoolers

Carpoolers - Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres October 2 at 8:30PM ET/PT

Four guys who carpool to work every day come to savor their commute as the only safe time to commiserate about jobs, families – and secrets. Even though "what happens in the carpool stays in the carpool," they'll go beyond the boundaries of this fast-moving commuter confessional to get involved in each other's lives and develop friendships.
The character details follow:

Gracen (Fred Goss, ABC's Sons & Daughters) is the unofficial leader of the carpool pack. As a professional mediator, he thinks he's a problem solver, but more often he's a causer. He seeks fairness in an unfair world, and so finds himself in the middle of situations because he’s compelled to be there. In the pilot, Gracen is stunned to learn that his wife makes more money than he does, which sets his resolve to assert his manly authority.

Laird (Jerry O'Connell, Crossing Jordan) is Gracen's playboy dentist neighbor and best friend. He thinks his life is an unending quest for stories – and women. In the middle of a messy divorce, he allows himself to live a little and taunts the other carpoolers with the freedom of his near-single status. He would never admit that he secretly misses marriage. Laird constantly leads the carpoolers into adventures, but once there, he isn't sure what to do.
Meet Laird, a dentist and recent divorce turned womanizer who was left with nothing intact but his libido. Laird's best friend, Gracen, is a mediator, a voice of reason, and the unofficial leader of the pack. Then there's self-sacrificing Aubrey, with a brood of kids and a stay-at-home couch-potato wife, and newlywed Dougie, the carpool neophyte who's willing to risk his life to save a coveted parking space for the team.

Aubrey (Jerry Minor, Arrested Development) is a sweet but intense pushover at the bottom of the family food chain. The daily ride has become the only peaceful time in his life. Forty-five minutes, two times a day – he needs the carpool the most. Always quick to come to the carpoolers' aid, he believes in the brotherhood almost to a fault. Only the carpoolers know he’s boiling inside, because "in the carpool lane, no one can hear you scream."

Dougie (Tim Peper, Guiding Light) is the eager newlywed. He doesn’t know all the rules of the Carpooler Society, often breaks them, and has to have the ways of the world explained to him by his tribal elders, the three other carpoolers. He and his wife, Cindy, are the perfect modern couple, but as you get to know them, you start to see their cracks. Dougie is the guy who seems to have it all together, yet he’s drawn to the carpoolers for a little excitement. The carpoolers will both instigate problems for Dougie and help him deal with the realities of life to come.

Cast Details:

Fred Goss as Gracen, Jerry O'Connell as Laird, Jerry Minor as Aubrey, Tim Peper as Dougie, Allison Munn as Cindy, with Faith Ford as Leila, and T.J. Baker as Marmaduke

Fred Goss (Gracen Brooker) is steeped in the entertainment business, as an actor, director, writer, producer and editor. As an actor, Goss starred in ABC's critically acclaimed Sons & Daughters. Along with his writing partner, he also created, wrote and served as executive producer and show runner on the series. In addition he directed the pilot, as well as four other episodes. Goss starred in Bravo's cult classic, Significant Others, and has also appeared in The Man Show and South Park. His first appearance in a TV comedy was on the hit series ALF.

Faith Ford (Leila Brooker) has five Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations for her ten-year portrayal of reporter Corky Sherwood on Murphy Brown. More recently she starred for three seasons in the ABC hit comedy series Hope & Faith, with Kelly Ripa, and co-starred opposite Vin Diesel in Touchstone Pictures' The Pacifier. She also starred for two seasons as Shelly Kilmartin, a probation officer who is the object of Norm MacDonald's affection on the ABC series Norm. Between Murphy Brown and Norm, Ford headlined her own series, Maggie Winters. She was a regular on the series Popcorn Kid and a recurring character on thirtysomething, before meeting Murphy Brown executive producer Diane English.

Jerry O'Connell (Laird) starred as Detective Woody Hoyt on Crossing Jordan. Other television credits include starring in Sliders, the movie What the Deaf Man Heard and the miniseries The '60s. Jerry O'Connell is quickly emerging as one of Hollywood's most versatile and sought after talents, especially in the movies.

Jerry Minor (Aubrey) is a former cast member of Saturday Night Live and HBO's Mr. Show with Bob and David, Minor was also in the cast of the groundbreaking but short-lived 4-camera sitcom for HBO, Lucky Louie, as Louis CK's African-American neighbor who suffered Louie's clumsy attempts at friendship. Minor has appeared on such television shows as Arrested Development, The Awful Truth with Michael Moore, and on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Trigger Happy TV and Crank Yankers. He also makes regular guest appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Tim Pepper's (Dougie) television credits include a recurring role on Conviction, plus guest starring on Law & Order, Guiding Light and As the World Turns.

Alison Munn (Cindy) was most recently a series regular on What I Like About You, and is also known for her recurring role as Crazy Caroline on That '70s Show. She had recurring roles on St. Sass and Now and Again, with additional TV credits in Charmed, JAG, Boston Public, Inside Schwartz and Law & Order: SVU.

T.J. Miller (Marmaduke Brooker) performs improvisation, sketch and stand-up comedy and is currently a member of Green Company of the Second City National Touring Companies. He performs improvisation with the house team Bullet Lounge at IO, stand-up at numerous comedy venues in Chicago, as well as sketch comedy with the group Heavy Weight. He even eats most of meals standing up.


Pilot Plot:

I have received the first two episodes of the series. The first episode, "Pilot," airing Oct. 2, Gracen wonders aloud how his lovely "house flipper" wife, Leila, can afford to buy a $200 designer toaster and how his deadbeat son, Marmaduke, who struts around the house in nothing but his jockeys and a smile, suddenly lands an internet job making more than his dad. By the end of the day, the guys have their mission: to steal back the respect Gracen deserves by any means necessary.
"Pilot" was written by Bruce McCulloch and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
Guest starring are Troy Evans as Mr. Heggie, Taylor Parks as Aubrey's daughter, Drew Matthews as Aubrey's son, Stephanie Reibel as woman, Scott Thompson as rich carpooler #1, Eddie Goins as rich carpooler #2, Irene White as Sue, Stephen T. Brophy as Ted and Andrew Cherry as Rikki.

The second episode I received is airing October 9 and is titled "Laird of the Ring." Laird pretends to be married to impress a girl who's into married men, Dougie believes Aubrey is having an affair when he sees him sneaking into a motel, and Marmaduke suspects that Laird is his father.
"Laird of the Ring" is written by Bruce McCulloch and directed by Joe Russo.
Guest starring are Sasha Barrese as Holly, Irene White as Sue Henzel, Stephen T. Brophy as Ted Henzel, Byron Field as brokeback guy, Vince Pavia as delivery guy, Jordan Robinson as Aubrey's kid #1, Khamani Griffin as Aubrey's kid #2 and Jay Jay Ellis as Aubrey's kid #3.


Analysis:

This show is surprisingly funny. I was shocked when ABC had picked-up this show, but after seeing the pilot, I am not surprised. It is a hoot and the cast is great. The pilot has a lot of laughs. The singing in the car while going to work is hilarious. Aubrey especially. Both episodes I have seen, start off with singing in the car. It might sound corny, but it is a riot. Another ongoing joke is, while driving, they are on a highway for "Carpoolers Only," and we see they are the only ones in that lane. While that is unrealistic, but it is supposed to be funny, as it is a joke. The plot of the pilot basically is to introduce us to the characters. Gracen, Laird, and Aubrey are about to get a new member of the Carpooler team in Dougie. He is their new guy and he has to sacrifice for the team in finding parking spots. He gets hit by cars so much. Even in episode two, he gets hit by cars, but in that episode he wasn't saving a parking spot. The other plots of the first episode is Gracen thinking his wife makes more money than him, and his son getting a new job. His son is a very oddball character. He is always in his underwear...even for an online job interview. I love the Aubrey character. He is hilarious. He sounds girly. He has like a 1,000 kids and his wife is now a fat couch potato who doesn't do anything but sit in front of the TV. We never see her face. She is like the new Nanny from the Muppet Babies! Except on this show, instead of seeing the Nanny's legs, we just see her stomach side. Aubrey does all the housework from doing the laundry to making cookies, while his wife watches her favorite TV shows.

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who carpool to go to work. So they could probably understand what these characters go through. The second episode is not as funny to me as the pilot. While it is interesting, it doesn't have as many laughs. Basically Laird borrows Gracen's wedding ring for a girl who is into only married men. Gracen's wife of course finds out right away that Gracen's wedding ring is missing. There are two sub-plots a well. Dougie sees Aubrey going into a motel for two days in a row right after coming to work. He thinks he is cheating on his overweight lazy wife. Is he? And Gracen's son Marmaduke, the dummy he is, thinks Laird is actually his father.


Conclusion:

As I said, this is surprisingly funny. The show will be following Cavemen on Tuesday nights on ABC. Cavemen has a lot of buzz and the premiere will certainly be sampled. So, let's hope they stick around for this show's premiere, too.

All the characters are developed by the first two episodes. We know nearly all of them by the end of the pilot. Cindy, Dougie's wife, is the only character that is not really needed yet. Everyone has a big role for the show. Both men and women will like this show, especially the men who carpool to work. Fred Goss was so great on the single camera comedy Sons & Daughters. He is great in this single camera comedy, too. The difference is, this sitcom would appeal to everyone, as Sons & Daughters was way too smart for some people. Faith Ford is always good in a sitcom, Jerry O'Connell is pretty funny as the sex-craved Laird and I just love Aubrey as the girly heterosexual man with millions of kids and the fat lazy wife. The funny thing is, Aubrey's kids are all different on each episode so far. As for improving the show, they should continue to make it silly and funny. I know it might be hard to top the pilot, but with this cast, it can be done. Episode 2 was not as good as the pilot. Future episodes better be good, as the show is an underdog to succeed in the ratings. Rebecca Romijn will guest star as Laird's wildly sexy and free-spirited ex-wife, "Joannifer," who returns to his life determined to get him back in upcoming episodes. I can't wait to see that! But before that, watch the pilot...and you'll be surprised how funny it really is!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/29/07

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Carpoolers Photo Gallery


    No publication or website will be reviewing the new and updated pilot of Cavemen. ABC has not and will not send the pilot out before it premieres. So we will all have to watch on Tuesday and find out how it is.
    I saw the unaired pilot this summer, but they completely redid it and changed some characters even. So reviewing that would be pointless. That pilot was not that good, just average. Here's hoping the new pilot is much much better.


    Solomon's Weekly Rant
    Saturday, September 29, 2007
    "The Premiere Delay of New Fall Shows"
    By Solomon Davis

    I will never understand why certain networks choose to air the series premiere of their new shows close to or in the month October.. There shouldn't even be a delay if the new show was already summarized in the Fall Preview edition of TV Guide in early September. The Big Bang Theory just premiered on this past Monday (Sept. 24) on CBS after the show was previewed in TV Guide in early September. So why does there need to be a gap in between the summary of the new show in TV Guide and the premiere date of the show? If the show was previewed in TV Guide it should be premiering the following week. The new show called, Samantha Who? won't air on ABC until October 15 which is actually two weeks before November. So that's almost 8 weeks of waiting after reading about the show in TV Guide during early September. So should we be more annoyed with TV Guide for its early reviews of new shows or the networks for their future fall premiere dates?

    The Fall Preview edition of TV Guide always comes out the week after Labor Day which previews the news shows are on the network schedule for the new TV season. So if the TV Guide fall preview comes out in the 2nd week of September, why are they including the preview for new shows that premiere in October? I mean couldn't they just wait until the last week of September to preview new shows like Carpoolers, Pushing Daises, and Caveman? No they would rather have us enjoy the summary of a new show starting in October and wait days to see whether we will like the show. So TV Guide definitely plays a bigger role in the premiere delay of new shows. Which means it's time for someone at TV Guide to use their brain and come out with a preview for new shows a week before they premiere. It really makes more sense to have a TV Guide edition with previews of certain new shows closer to the premiere date instead of summarizing all the shows in one issue. The way TV Guide introduces these new TV shows is like a newspaper in the month of July including back to school clothes advertisements with school starting 7 weeks after the date of the paper.

    My TV Highlight of the Week: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - Joy Behar asking Barbara Walters on The View, "did you sleep with Fidel Castro?" Walters replied, "are you nuts? I wonder if she asked Joy was she nuts because she asked her about Castro or because she asked her on the air?
    My TV Lowlight of the Week: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - Tiki Barber almost dropping a salsa dancer on the boring fourth hour of the Today Show.

    Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

    DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

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    • Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek/Greg the Bunny/Hiller and Diller) - Catch Eugene on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
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