Saturday, March 01, 2008

Fox Mid-Season Pilot Review: Unhitched - Premieres March 2; Solomon's Weekly Rant

Today instead of our regular Saturday Mini-DVD Review we have a pilot review for a new sitcom premiering tomorrow on Fox! We still have Solomon's Weekly Rant right below the review, so not to fret!

Unhitched Cast

Unhitched - Sundays at 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres March 2 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Dating in your 20s is like going to the farmers’ market – if you get there early, there’s plenty of fruit, all ripe, juicy and yours for the taking. But dating in your 30s is like getting there at closing time. The remaining fruit has been sitting in the sun all day. It’s been dropped, squeezed and handled by a thousand different people.

From the creatively fruitful minds of the Farrelly Brothers (Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber, Stuck on You), UNHITCHED follows a group of newly single friends living in Boston and learning the painful lessons of starting over in their 30s. They’d all love to get remarried, if they could just find their true loves.

JACK “GATOR” GATELY (Craig Bierko) is a charismatic, optimistic guy who never expected to be single again. But now that he is, he’s determined to make the best of it until he finds “the one.”

Joining Gator in bachelorhood redux are his best friends: thrice-divorced TOMMY (Johnny Sneed), the founder and brewmaster of an upstart microbrewery, who has a voracious appetite for food, beer and women; and DR. FREDDY SAHGAL (Shaun Majumder), a successful surgeon who can execute a triple bypass in his sleep, but is all thumbs when it comes to the opposite sex.

Rounding out the group is KATE (Rashida Jones), a smart, successful attorney who handled all three of the boys’ divorces. Having just turned 30, Kate finds herself dumped after a seven-year engagement and reluctantly joins the guys in negotiating the treacherous waters of dating. With Kate owning the brownstone next to Gator’s, this pair, over time, may find that “the one” is just a brick wall away.

UNHITCHED is a 20th Century Fox Television production in association with Conundrum Entertainment and Watson Pond Productions. Bobby and Peter Farrelly directed the pilot and serve as executive producers. Bradley Thomas, Brad Johnson and Mike Sikowitz are executive producers. Chris Pappas and Michael Bernier are co-executive producers.

Cast Details:

Craig Bierko as Jack "Gator" Gately, Rashida Jones as Kate, Johnny Sneed as Tommy, Shaun Majumder as Dr. Freddy Sahgal.

Craig Bierko (Jack "Gator" Gately) - A versatile performer in both comedy and drama on the stage and screen, Craig Bierko’s Broadway debut as Harold Hill in Meredith Willson’s legendary The Music Man garnered him critical acclaim and attention; he was nominated for the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award, and received the Theater World Award. Bierko’s television credits include a recurring role on Boston Legal as well as memorable guest appearances on Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City. He also guest-starred on Ally McBeal and as Paul Reiser's prospective agent on Mad About You.

Rashida Jones (Kate) - Rashida Jones has quickly established herself as one of Hollywood’s bright young stars. Jones portrayed ambitious saleswoman “Karen Filippelli” in the Emmy Award-winning comedy The Office, opposite Steve Carell. Jones starred on FOX’s Boston Public as “Louisa Fenn” and in the cable drama Wanted as Detective Carla Merced. Her television credits also include Freaks and Geeks, If These Walls Could Talk 2, The Chappelle Show, Second Opinion and the British television series NY-LON. Jones also was a weekly correspondent on the talk show Vibe TV.

Johnny Sneed (Tommy) - A native of Gulfport, MS, Johnny Sneed left his home and his career as a lawyer in 2001 to pursue acting in Los Angeles, landing roles on both the big and small screens. Sneed was seen in the Farrelly brothers’ feature comedy The Heartbreak Kid, opposite Ben Stiller. Sneed also starred in The Farrelly Brothers’ film Fever Pitch. His television credits include House, CSI and CSI: NY, Boston Legal, ER and My Name is Earl.

Shaun Majumder (Dr. Freddy Sahgal) - Raised in Burlington, Newfoundland, Canada, Gemini Award-winning actor and comedian Shaun Majumder co-starred in the feature films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, The Ladies Man, Pushing Tin and Purpose. Majumder was a series regular on the Canadian comedy series This Hour has 22 Minutes. Additional television credits include roles on Season Six of 24, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, Relic Hunter and John Woo's Once a Thief.

Pilot Plot:

We have received the first two episodes of this sitcom, "Pilot" and "Woman Marries Horse."

"Pilot" - March 2, 2008
In the series premiere, Jack "Gator" Gately finds himself ill-prepared to re-enter the dating scene as a blind date goes bananas for him; his friend and neighbor Kate finds big things come in small packages when she dates a member of the Boston Celtics; and Indian-born Dr. Freddy learns that love isn't cheap with the woman of your dreams.
Writer: Kevin Barnett, Mike Bernier, Chris Pappas
Director: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
Guest star: Paul Pierce (Himself), Ryan Gomes (Himself), Eliza Coupe (Julia), Lauren Bowles (Annie), Kate Hodge (Katherine), Erinn Bartlett (Nikki), Ben Giroux (Tim), Dan Murphy (Herb)

"Woman Marries Horse" - March 9, 2008
Gator is hung up on his new girlfriend's minor physical flaw, leading Tommy to take drastic measures. Freddy befriends a bouncer; Kate dates a musician whose talents are not what they seem.
Guest star: Christina Moore (Barbara), Reid Scott (Bobby), Daron Fordham (Alonzo)

Analysis:

Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly and Mike Sikowitz serve as executive producers alongside Brad Johnson and Bradley Thomas, with Katy McCaffrey producing. The pilot was directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. They reportedly had a budget of $3 million to shoot the pilot. The show was originally titled "The Rules for Starting Over," but perhaps they thought that was too similar to CBS's "Rules of Engagement." Fox originally ordered 13 episodes, but due to the strike only 6 were shot and will air this season.

If you've seen some of the Farrelly brothers movies, you know they put a lot of sight gags into their films. There are some in the first two episodes, but not as many as I expected. Another trademark of their films is that they put a lot of heart into the stories. That is also evident here. The pilot episode begins with a funny scene between Gator and his date. If you saw Craig Bierko on Jimmy Kimmel Live, you saw this clip involving an orangutan. Talk about the show starting off with a bang... an oranguabang! The rest of the cast is also solid. I loved Rashida Jones on The Office. She plays a different type of character here. Her comedic timing is great. I'm not too familiar with Johnny Sneed or Shaun Majumder, but they do a decent job in the first couple of episodes. The cast appears to have developed some good chemistry. The characters they play are likable, realistic and relatable.

This is a single-camera comedy that is shot without a studio audience. There is no laugh track. The show features a catchy opening main title theme called "Hey" by Timothy Alan Pagotta and Ryan Gilmor. There are also several songs by various artists used in the first two episodes. Boston is the location for the show. In the pilot episode, Rashida Jones (Kate) goes to a Celtics game with her date. Paul Pierce and Ryan Gomes make cameo appearances. You can tell this pilot was shot last spring because Gomes is now a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Conclusion:

I've always been a fan of the Farrelly brothers movies. Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Fever Pitch are among my favorites. This is their first real attempt at television. These episodes feel more like mini movies than a traditional sitcom. There are some sight gags and montages. I wonder if this show could be improved a bit if they did some of the writing instead of just being executive producers. The show could use a little quicker pace and more funny jokes.

Fox will be airing 6 episodes on Sunday nights. I'm not sure how this live-action comedy will fit in with Fox's animated comedies. They've never really had a lot of success with them on Sunday nights in recent years. I think this show would have a better chance at developing an audience if it premiered after American Idol or if it was paired with another comedy such as Back to You or 'Til Death. This show may not be the next Seinfeld or Friends, but it could become a minor hit if it is given a chance to develop. With the way the show is set up, there should be a lot of guest stars. It will be interesting to see who appears in episodes 3-6. The first two episodes feature a bevy of beauties.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 03/01/08

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

Related Links:

  • FOX.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Unhitched Photo Gallery




    Solomon's Weekly Rant
    Saturday, March 1, 2008
    "ION Hits a New Low; Stop The Crying On Idol; Fox's Poor Handling of Back to You"
    By Solomon Davis

    Can you believe that ION has been airing episodes this past week with an unclear view? The picture looked like someone already recorded the episode from another TV station and mailed the tape to ION and they just put in the tape and hit play, at least on my ION affiliate. First it was the editing, then the strange TV show pickups of 2008, and now crappy picture quality, which is very unacceptable for viewers who pay a monthly cable bill. I just want to say, "great work once again" by the ION programming staff.

    Why do the girls on American Idol get emotional every time someone gets eliminated off American Idol? You mean to tell me they didn't know that an elimination was every week? I just think it's so dumb to get emotional when you know that someone will be gone each week of the American Idol season. I have news for the remaining females on American Idol, "THERE WILL BE ANOTHER ELIMINATION NEXT THURSDAY SO GET OVER IT!!"

    Why did Fox have to air the first new episode of Back to You on a Tuesday night? It threw me off because I missed Wednesday's episode because I'm only used to seeing one episode of Back to You during the week not two days in a row. Fox could have aired one new episode this past week and one next week or could have aired both episodes on the same night...why do they need two nights of 90-minute American Idol's? They don't have 90-minutes for next week! So on top of missing Wednesday's new episode of Back to You I now have to wait 7 weeks to see the next new episode, because Fox likes to play mind games...they should have held these two episodes until they start again in 7 weeks! Thanks a lot Fox!

    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.

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