Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fox Mid-Season Pilot Review: The Return of Jezebel James - Premieres March 14

The Return of Jezebel James

The Return of Jezebel James - Fridays at 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres March 14 with a one-hour premiere from 8:00-9:00PM ET/PT

Imagine, if you would, that you have everything you ever wanted in life. But what if there is just one thing that is missing, like a child? And what if you were unable to have that child on your own because your doctor just isn't possible? Well, then you have to turn to your sister for a little help, and that is exactly what happens in The Return of Jezebel James.

This is a comedy that answers the question of whether polar-opposite sisters can live together when one agrees to carry the other’s baby. Bright, optimistic, successful children’s book editor Sarah turns to her estranged and free-spirited younger sister, Coco, when she learns she cannot conceive a child herself.

Cast Details:

Parker Posey as Sarah Tompkins, Lauren Ambrose as Coco, Scott Cohen as Marcus, Ron McLarty as Ron, Michael Arden as Buddy, Dianne Wiest as Talia

It seems uncommon to find sitcoms with star-studded casts these days, and this series is not an exception to that rule. There really aren't any well-known people in the series, aside from Parker Posey, who plays Sarah Tompkins (the starring role). She has played in several movies that, while not blockbuster hits, are pretty well known, such as Dazed and Confused and Scream 3. Additionally, she has been on the series Boston Legal.
Lauren Ambrose (of Six Feet Under fame) plays her sister Coco.
Ron McLarty, was a regular on Spenser: For Hire and has appeared more recently on The Practice, Law & Order and Sex and the City, he plays her father, who is named Ron.
Scott Cohen plays Marcus and is best known for his role as Wolf in the miniseries The 10th Kingdom and for his recurring role as Max Medina on Gilmore Girls.
Rounding out the cast are Michael Arden (he recently guest starred on Grey's Anatomy and NUMB3RS) as Buddy and Oscar-winning actress Dianne Wiest as Talia.

Pilot Plot:

The pilot doesn't really get into much of a plot, but instead gives us a general overview of the series. And it is pretty simple. Sarah wants to have a baby and discovers that she can't, and turns to her sister for help. Of course, like any normal person would do if they were asked to carry a baby, her sister was against the idea. But, like any sitcom idea requires, her sister figures that she will go ahead and give it a try and moves into her sister's house to get started.
Guest Cast: Dylan Blue as Aaron, Amy Hohn as Evelyn and Jasika Nicole as Dora.

The review copy that I received also included the episode "Paragraph Two, Section Three," which is currently scheduled to air about a month after the first episode. In this episode, Sarah and Coco struggle to work out a legal agreement for Coco's plan to carry Sarah's baby, as both have their own selfish (and sometimes ridiculous) ideas.

Analysis:

I'm REALLY not sure where they are planning to go with this series. The whole premise of the series is that the main character wants a baby, and can't have it, so she wants her sister to have it. Now, that would make for a typical (not necessarily GREAT) episode of a sitcom, but this is a series. Either her sister will or won't do this. So if she does, then what is the point of the whole series? And if she doesn't, how long can they keep coming up with story lines about Sarah wanting her sister to have a baby for her? Clearly, this is a half baked premise for a series, and I can not see any possible way of it making just on that idea. Perhaps, though, the creators have something up their sleeve and this isn't the whole concept behind it after all. But all of the press says that it basically IS the idea.

Even if the series could be a success as it is, there is one other important thing missing from the series. The laughs. I didn't really laugh one time while watching this, which is just not a good sign, particularly since this is a standard sitcom that even has a laugh track. All of the jokes seemed to be lame jokes.

Conclusion:

Yep, it is another typical sitcom from FOX... that could be either a compliment or insult depending upon what you think of FOX sitcoms. This reminds me of a sitcom that Lifetime aired about ten years ago called Oh Baby, where a woman wanted to have a baby by artificial insemination before her biological clock ran down. And she did just that... and the series was promptly canceled. I'm seeing the same thing happen with this series, except it'll be sooner rather than later.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funiness: 1.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

-- Reviewed by Skees53 on 03/12/08

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

Related Links:

  • FOX.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Return of Jezebel James Photo Gallery

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