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

  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, June 12

    Henry Danger - "Captain Man Strikes Out" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After Captain Man goes on strike because he declines to pay for artwork that he destroyed while on a mission, the vice mayor appoints a new hero, Monsieur Man, to defend Swellview.

    Tyler Perry's Young Dylan - "Food for the Soul" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Dylan gets ready to return to Chicago with his mother, but a change in plans has him questioning their relationship; the rest of the family is trying to help Dylan through this latest crisis.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 7)

    Friday, June 11

    • Kathryn Hahn (Central Park/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Catch Kathryn on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Jean Smart (Hacks/Samantha Who?/Designing Women) - Jean appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - Michelle chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey talks about The Celebrity Dating Game on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Ellen Burstyn (The Ellen Burstyn Show) - Ellen will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am. She also talks about Queen Bees in the 10am hour.
    • Jasmine Cephas-Jones (Blindspotting) - Jasmine talks about Blindspotting on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
    • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) and David Koechner (Superior Donuts/F Is for Family/The Golbergs/Hank/The Office) - Rob and David talk about The Big Slick Benefit on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) and Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Jane and Loretta talk about Queen Bees on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-June)

    Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series 'Til Death - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series

    02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
    02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
    02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
    05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
    06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
    06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
    06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    06/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Valerie Bertinelli Cast in Comedy Pilot with Demi Lovato; Broadway Version of The Nanny in the Works
    06/11 - Fri-Yay: Kim's Convenience Is An Underrated Streaming Sitcom; Ted Revived as Series for Peacock
    06/10 - CNN's History of the Sitcom Premieres July 11; Miracle Workers Returns to TBS for 3rd Season This Summer
    06/09 - Antenna TV's Bewitched Double the Darrins Father's Day Marathon; HBO Max Renews Hacks for 2nd Season
    06/08 - COZI TV Father's Day Marathon: Herman Munster vs. Dan Conner; Paramount+ Bolsters Offerings This Summer
    06/07 - Who Are You, Charlie Brown? Debuts June 25 on Apple TV+; FX, FXX and FX on Hulu Announce 8 Premieres for Summer/Early Fall
    06/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 7, 2021)
    06/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Warner Bros. and Discovery Merger Moving Forward; Saturday Night Live Ends Season 46 on Top
    06/04 - Fri-Yay: Happy Endings Now on Netflix, a Perfect New Comedy Binge; Remembering Arlene Golonka of Mayberry R.F.D.
    06/03 - Leah Remini GSN Game Show Receives 2nd Season; Helen Mirren to Narrate ABC's When Nature Calls
    06/02 - black-ish Coming to Freeform in July; TBS Sets Cast for Comedy Pilot Called Space
    06/01 - Remembering Gavin MacLeod of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat; Mr. Big Returns in New Sex and the City Chapter
    05/31 - Memorial Day 2021 TV Marathons
    05/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 31, 2021)
    05/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at the Fall 2021 Lineup; Amazon to Buy MGM
    05/28 - Fri-Yay: Friends Reunion Special Thoughts; Breeders Renewed for Season 3 on FX
    05/27 - NBC Launches NBC Summer Games, Schedules Family Game Fight; Modern Love Returns Aug. 13 on Amazon Prime Video
    05/26 - The CW Gets Nostalgic with The Waltons & Scooby-Doo; A Black Lady Sketch Show Coming Back for Season 3
    05/25 - The CW Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Former Grey's Star Joins Sex and the City New Chapter
    05/24 - TBS Launches Best of Friends Awards; AMC Networks Adds to All-Star Cast of Ultra City Smiths
    05/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 24, 2021)
    05/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: First Look at Reboot of The Wonder Years; Kaley Cuoco Signs Development Deal with Warner
    05/21 - Fri-Yay: First Look at the 2021-2022 Sitcom Slate; NBC Books Eighth and Final Season Premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine for August 12
    05/20 - TNets Upfront: Chad and Wipeout Renewed for Second Seasons in 2022; The Dick Van Dyke Show in Color on CBS Friday (May 21)
    05/19 - CBS Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; HBO's Betty Returns June 11
    05/18 - ABC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Paramount+ Orders The Game Revival
    05/17 - Fox Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Friends Reunion on HBO Max, Every Episode Marathon on TBS
    05/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 17, 2021)
    05/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Cancels Several Series; Quibi Returns Via Roku
    05/14 - NBC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Fri-Yay: ABC and CBS Comedy Renewal Decisions
    05/13 - Billy Porter and More Join The Proud Family Revival; HBO Max Orders Gordita Chronicles
    05/12 - FXX Orders Animated Comedy Little Demon; The CW to Revive Legends of the Hidden Temple