Friday, September 12, 2008

CBS Fall Pilot Review: Worst Week - Premieres September 22; Five Year Anniversary for John Ritter's Passing

Worst Week

Worst Week - Mondays 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, September 22, 2008 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Worst Week is a comedy about Sam Briggs, an entertainment magazine editor who will do anything to please his girlfriend's parents ... but instead becomes a one-man wrecking crew whenever he's around them. Sam and his girlfriend, Melanie Clayton, have only one hurdle left to clear as they start their life together: breaking the news to Mel's conservative parents that they have a wedding in the works and a baby on the way. Dick, a stern Judge, and his wife, Angela, are protective of their daughter, and are really trying to let go of the anger they feel toward Sam ... after all, disaster follows whenever he visits their house. But despite his best efforts, every time Sam takes one positive step forward in winning over his future in-laws, he inevitably takes two crushing steps back. But with support and love from Melanie who stands up for him despite his knack for making himself look bad, Sam will hopefully charm his way into her family. It's all a funny week but it is the worst week for Sam! From Universal Media Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television comes Worst Week, a single-camera sitcom based on the BBC series The Worst Week of My Life, airing Mondays at 9:30PM on CBS!

Cast Details:

* Kyle Bornheimer as Sam Briggs
* Erinn Hayes as Melanie Clayton
* Nancy Lenehan as Angela Clayton
* Kurtwood Smith as Dick Clayton

Kyle Bornheimer's (Sam) television credits include guest starring roles on How I Met Your Mother, The Unit and Jericho, all on CBS, as well as the series The Office, Will & Grace, Medium, Monk and Breaking Bad. Movie wise, he appeared on Blades of Glory.

Erinn Hayes' (Melanie) first series regular role was in On The Spot opposite comedy legend Tim Conway. More recently, Hayes appeared as the female lead in the short-lived sitcom The Winner. Her other television credits include Kitchen Confidential, Unhitched, Notes From the Underbelly, Will & Grace and Shark, which was on CBS In addition, Hayes starred as "Pam Dawber aka Mindy" in the television movie Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Mork and Mindy.

Nancy Lenehan's (Angela) television credits include My Name is Earl, Malcolm in the Middle, Grace Under Fire and Ellen. Recently, she appeared as a series regular on Married to the Kellys. Her feature film credits include Catch Me If You Can and Door To Door.

Kurtwood Smith (Dick) is most recognizable to television audiences for his eight seasons playing Red Forman on That '70s Show. His other television credits include appearances in Medium, House, Malcolm In The Middle, The X-Files, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Star Trek: Voyager and Picket Fences, which was on CBS. His television movie credits include A Bright Shining Lie, The Magnificent Seven, While Justice Sleeps, Doorways, The Christmas Gift and The Nightmare Years, for which he received a Cable Ace Award nomination for best supporting actor. Smith's feature film credits include the Academy Award winners Dead Poets Society and Girl, Interrupted, as well as Broken Arrow, Citizen Ruth, A Time to Kill, To Die For, The Crush, True Believer, and in the memorable role of Clarence Boddicker in Robocop. Smith also starred in a short film, 12:01 P.M., about a man caught in a time warp, which was nominated for an Oscar in the "Best Short Film" category.


Pilot Plot:

#1 Pilot
When Sam and Melanie decide to break their life-changing news to her conservative parents, Sam's disastrous antics delay their plans. A lot of very bad things (but funny!) happen! For instance, Sam misses the train when he decides to help a drunk woman go home and so many bad (and pretty wild and funny) things happen after that. Let's just say, at the end he ends up at Mel's house naked. Find out how when you watch the pilot yourself. To top it all off, Dick, who had a concussion earlier from slipping on Sam's urine, collapses on the sidewalk near a funeral home and the undertaker makes him rest inside the funeral home. Sam of course misunderstands the undertaker's phone call and thinks Dick died. All this and more wild and funny stuff on the pilot!


Analysis:

The pilot is for sure funny. I think just about everyone who saw it so far will tell you that. But will people like this type of comedy for the rest of the season? The pilot is very wild and outrageous things happen. Some of these things would never happen in real life, but this is a TV show and things are made for entertainment...and you'll certainly be entertained by this pilot. I laughed out loud a few times actually. When I finished watching the pilot, I thought to myself this is a crazy show. So many wild things happen that that is what this pilot is about. It's like Meet the Parents: The Sitcom. If you like that movie, then you might find some similarities here. It's a simple story: Sam is in love with Mel, but her parents don't know. They want to get married and they also have a child on the way already. And Sam has bad luck. It's as simple is that! So, the plot revolves around Sam's luck.

Will this series work for CBS? Originally Fox was developing this series in 2006 but it was passed on. The Fox pilot had a completely different cast (Zachary Levi, Jamie King, JoBeth Williams and David Odgen Stiers). This sitcom is based on the hilarious British sitcom The Worst Week of My Life, which aired on BBC for two seasons. This series is a single-camera sitcom, something CBS is not known for at all. They didn't have success this past season in Welcome to The Captain, but in all fairness that was fed to the writers' strike and aired after repeats of their multi-camera sitcoms.


Conclusion:

Honestly, I did enjoy the show despite the wildness. It might be too wild even. I just don't understand how this sitcom can last for a number of years with the title Worst Week? Will they still be on that week in season 4? I guess they'll worry about that when that happens. The BBC series lasted only two seasons and three specials. And their seasons are very short, while our sitcoms get 22 episodes a season usually. So if this show gets 22 episodes this season, it'll pass the BBC episodes already. Also, this sitcom will probably be a bit serialized, something CBS shows are not known for.

The series will air after the highest rated sitcom on television right now...Two and a Half Men. But that is a multi-camera sitcom. I think it will get sampled for sure, though...it's on opposite Dancing with the Stars/Samantha Who, Heroes, Prison Break, and One Tree Hill, so the competition is there but it should be able to beat everything in viewers if it can hold a good portion of the Men audience but Dancing and maybe Heroes. It won't face Samantha Who until the fourth week of the season (Oct. 13), so by then the show should be finding itself and start to have consistent numbers...either good or bad. Can CBS break the mold and find success with a single-camera sitcom and join the other networks in airing these type of sitcoms? We shall see. Give the pilot a try on Sept. 22...if you find yourself liking all this wild stuff, then stick around for more!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/12/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, September 22 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Worst Week Photo Gallery



  • Yesterday was of course the fifth anniversary of John Ritter's passing and we will pay tribute to one of the best ever today. Actually, everyone heard about John's passing on this day (Friday, Sept. 12, 2003), so it makes more sense to pay tribute to him today. John passed away Thursday, September 11, 2003 at 10:30pm PT or so, so that would make it 1:30am ET on Friday, September 12 anyway. And even more, this is the first time that John's passing will be remembered the same day he passed away. That makes it more special this year.
    John was my all-time favorite because he was not only a wonderful actor but a good human being. I admired his work of course but I even admired him more as a person. He genuinely was a real person and didn't have the typical celebrity written on him. He was a huge star and a legend but he thought about others first and made everyone feel special...whether it be a homeless guy or George Clooney.
    I will never forget that morning when I found out. I was in utter shock and in denial, thinking how could this of happened? I never want to go through something like that again. Unfortunately, I never got to meet John in person but I have written to him (and of course he responded with a wonderful autographed personal photo) and spoke indirectly to him through his press assistant (the very nice Susan Wilcox). I had the chance to go to his Broadway show in 2000, but I never got around to it. Fortunately, many fans got to meet him and told me the stories and they were ALL positive and John made them feel like they knew him personally for over 20 years. An amazing man. An amazing actor. And the best. His wife actress Amy Yasbeck plans to write a book about John for Simon & Schuster. A month after he passed away, Amy started the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health (http://www.johnritterfoundation.org/). "Through the foundation, people are literally getting their lives saved," she told the Sept. 8-14 TV Guide. I urge you all to visit the website to learn more about aortic health and to view some moving stories about how John's story saved others. Chris Mann, author of the Three's Company book, Come and Knock on Our Door, is also planning on writing a book about John. So two books for John. We will keep you up to date on both projects.
    So, today's blog is for John. We miss you and we wish you were still here making us laugh and cry. John would have been 60 next Wednesday (Sept. 17).
    Share your memories and stories of John.


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