Friday, April 16, 2010

ABC Midseason Pilot Review: Romantically Challenged - Premieres April 19; Fox Changes Summer 2010; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 19, 2010)

Romantically Challenged

Romantically Challenged - Mondays 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Monday, April 19, 2010 at 9:30PM ET/PT



From the writer of such irreverent and bold television shows as Family Guy and Politically Incorrect comes a comedy about four romantically challenged friends in their early thirties navigating their way through today's tricky world of dating.

Smart and beautiful Rebecca (Alyssa Milano) is recently divorced after 15 years of marriage. Having never really dated before she was married - and not having been on a date since Clinton was in office -- she finds it scary to start over now. Although a gifted mom and lawyer, she is clueless about dating and hopes to get some help from her equally romantically challenged friends.

Perry (Kyle Bornheimer) is Rebecca's best friend since childhood. He is a rugged man's man and a tremendously successful financial planner -- but also one of Pittsburgh's most sensitive hopeless romantics. When it comes to matters of the heart, Perry is a romance-aholic who falls in love with women 20 minutes after meeting them. After 40 minutes, he's already naming their future children.

A struggling novelist, the witty and affable Shawn (Josh Lawson) has been Perry's best friend and rent-free roommate for six years. Shawn is the emotionally unavailable cynic to Perry's hopeless romantic. He has never had a relationship more serious than a three-night stand - and even those send him running for the door.

Rounding out the group is Rebecca's petite, baby sister, Lisa (Kelly Stables). Behind her deceptively sweet appearance is a sassy pit bull ready to protect her older sister. Although a nurturing kindergarten teacher, she has a wild side too, and sees a "threesome" as "second base."

Will these four romantically challenged friends ever find lasting love? Or even someone who lasts until next Thursday?


Cast Details:

* Alyssa Milano as Rebecca Thomas
* Kyle Bornheimer as Perry Gill
* Josh Lawson as Shawn Goldwater
* Kelly Stables as Lisa Thomas

Alyssa Milano (Rebecca) has spent almost her entire life in the public eye. At age 10 she landed her breakthrough role on the ABC sitcom Who's the Boss? as Tony Danza's daughter, Sam Micelli for eight seasons. She also starred for eight seasons on the hit WB series Charmed, as well as on the Fox cornerstone series Melrose Place. She was most recently seen in a recurring role on the cult favorite, My Name is Earl. And she also recently made a guest appearance on ABC's Castle. Milano's film credits include Hugo Pool, co-starring Sean Penn and Robert Downey Jr., and the Imagine/Universal film Fear, with Reese Witherspoon. She produced and starred as the title character in the Lifetime Original movie Wisegal. Past television movies include playing Amy Fisher on Casualties of Love: The "Long Island Lolita" Story. She will next be seen in the romantic comedy My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.

Kyle Bornheimer (Perry Gill) recently starred as the hapless Sam Briggs in the critically-acclaimed but short-lived CBS comedy series, Worst Week. His performance earned him a spot on Entertainment Weekly's 2009 Dream Emmy Ballot list in the Best Lead Actor (Comedy) category. Bornheimer's additional television credits include guest starring roles on ABC's Better Off Ted, How I Met Your Mother, Party Down, The Office, The Unit, Jericho, Will & Grace, Monk, Weeds and Breaking Bad. On the big screen he starred in Dreamworks' She's Out of My League. Additional film credits include roles in Blades of Glory and the independent feature For Christ's Sake.

Josh Lawson (Shawn Goldwater) is probably best known for his returning guest appearances on his home country of Australia's improvised hit TV comedy, Thank God You're Here. He was also the co-host of Wipeout Australia, which was based on ABC's reality game show of the same name, and was a series regular in Chandon Pictures. In addition to several television series roles in Australia, Lawson's film work includes BoyTown and the upcoming Australian release Kin. From the U.S., he will star in the independent film, Crave, as a troubled photographer whose dangerous visions begin to destroy his relationship with a beautiful young woman. He will also star in the upcoming comedy Freeloaders as one of the slackers who is living for free in a rock star's mansion.

Kelly Stables (Lisa Thomas) is making her mark as one of the most dynamic and busy actresses in television. In addition to starring in Romantically Challenged, Stables continues her recurring role in her second season on CBS' Two and a Half Men, as Melissa, Alan Harper's (John Cryer) girlfriend and receptionist. She also has a recurring role as Janette on ABC Family's hit show Greek. Past television credits include guest starring roles on Life, 'Til Death, How I Met Your Mother, The Bold & The Beautiful, Cavemen and General Hospital. She also starred in Showtime's Pride & Prejudice, Lifetime Network's Together Again for the First Time, ABC Family's Santa Baby 2 and Sci-Fi Channel's Furnace. Stables is active in voice-overs, starring in Disney's animated series W.I.T.C.H. and Too Many Robots. In addition to her current television projects, she produces and stars in the internet horror series Soul Fire Rising. No stranger to the big screen, Stables terrified audiences as the iconic Evil Samara in The Ring 2, starred alongside Jason Flemyng and Mel B. in the British thriller, Telling Lies, and fought dragons as the star of Dragon Hunter.


Pilot Plot:

UPDATE (4/17/2010): ABC has announced it will NOT air "Rebecca's One Night Stand" first, so instead the actual first episode taped will air first "Don't Be Yourself." Due to last minute change, ABC did not put this episode up for review. Ricky Blitt sent this message: HAPPY ANNOUNCEMENT: Premiere episode ABC is airing Monday is now the 1st one we shot - the pilot & the one that sets everything up! -Ricky Blitt

I have seen two episodes that will air on ABC! So this review will be based on these two episodes. Here are the plot details for both episodes:

#1 "Rebecca's One Night Stand" (#104, Airs TBD)
Lisa finally convinces Rebecca to have her first one night stand. But the always polite Rebecca violates Lisa's number-one rule by calling her date, Leo, the morning after. Now Leo is into Rebecca, so Lisa gives her sister her own unusual brand of dating advice so Rebecca can break up with him. Meanwhile, an overworked Perry decides to take a stay-cation. But doing so gets on the nerves of his unemployed roommate, Shawn, to the point that Shawn decides to get a job - any job.

Guest starring are Israel Broussard as Justin, Paul Greene as Leo, Edward Flores as Bob, Emayatzy Corinealdi as Tiffany, Elaine Loh as waitress, Brian Michael Jones as restaurant patron and Donald Li as owner.
"Rebecca's One Night Stand" was written by Ted Cohen & Andrew Reich and directed by James Burrows.

#2 "The Charade" (#103, Airs April 26)
Although Rebecca said she wouldn't meddle in sister Lisa's love life, she can't resist finding out why Lisa would break up with "nice guy" Neil. When Lisa finds out what Rebecca did, she finds a way to get back at her. Meanwhile, as Shawn is on his way to pick up Perry from his dental surgery, he gets distracted by a pretty girl, proving once again that the ladies come first in his life, so a fed-up Perry kicks Shawn out of the apartment and refuses to forgive his BFF.

Guest starring are Daniel G. O'Brien as Neil, Nadine Heimann as Sarah and Nasty Nes as taxi driver.
"The Charade" was written by Ricky Blitt and directed by James Burrows.


Analysis:

The first episode I saw is titled "Rebecca's One Night Stand" but it was actually the fourth episode that was taped. ABC orginally was going to air this one first because it best introduces Alyssa Milano's character Rebecca. It made sense, as the show doesn't have a pilot per say (but ABC later decided to air the first one that was taped to better set up the series). This episode starts off a bit slow I think, but it really picks up half-way through and you'll be loving it after you watched the entire episode. As I mentioned in the plot section, this episode is basically about Lisa convincing Rebecca to have her first one night stand and also Perry decides to take a stay-cation from work, but by doing so gets on the nerves of his unemployed roommate, Shawn. The show may be similar to Friends, but it has its own voice and style. One similarity is that the gang all meet at a coffee shop, though.

There are many laughs in this episode. Josh Lawson, who plays Shawn, steals this episode with the most laughs. He has many funny lines, such as saying Perry looks like one of the Wiggles. Perry and Shawn seem like a great hilarious combo (and it gets even better in episode two). The sister combo of Rebecca and Lisa are also funny. Rebecca is taking her younger sister's advice of having a one night stand with a guy named Leo ("the mansicle"). Rebecca is a lawyer and recently divorced and has a 15-year-old son. She hasn't dated since the Clinton era, so she has been out of the game for quite some time. She tries to win a guy over with "pouty lips and a double hair toss," but that doesn't seem to work so she takes Lisa's advice. Will it work? Let's just say the guy has a bit of a fetish...of mushrooms. Kindergarten teacher Lisa has some hilarious lines as well in this episode, such as comparing Perry and Shawn's relationship as a non-consensual prison romance! And going to back to the Perry and Shawn storyline, Perry is driving Shawn crazy by taking him to places like the Pittsburgh Museum of Fine Arts to look at 18th century buttons (yes, buttons!) and scavenger hunts and also a Revolutionary War battlefield that has musketballs! What will Shawn do? Let's say he goes to a Chinese "company."

The second episode that is airing is titled "The Charade" but it was actually the third episode that was taped. This is a very fun episode. As I mentioned in the plot, Rebecca meddles in her sister Lisa's love life because she can't resist finding out why Lisa would break up with "nice guy" Neil, while as Shawn is on his way to pick up Perry from his dental surgery, he gets distracted by a pretty girl and forgets about picking Perry up. There is lots of physical comedy in this episode, particularly from Perry, played by the comic genius of Kyle Bornheimer. Kyle was excellent at this on CBS's Worst Week last season, one of the better comedies from last season. The scene with Perry in pain after getting his wisdom teeth removed is classic. Boy did he need his pudding. Shawn also shines in this episode, as he did in the first episode. The on going credit card number joke in this episode is funny each time.

The two sisters plotline was also good. Lisa finds out that her date is married, so Rebecca suggests to her that she date the new waiter, Neil, at the coffee shop. So, she does...but after one date she says he is a bit too "nice." Rebecca doesn't buy the excuse, so she meddles and finds out that he is more strange than nice. Lisa finds out about Rebecca's visit to Neil. So what happens? Let's just say Lisa gets her back good. Ah, the sitcom lesson. Fun and practical!


Conclusion:

While this is billed as an Alyssa Milano comedy, it is more of an ensemble. But that is good because this cast is ALL very talented! This is a great ensemble comedy that has a good mix of hilarious dialogue and physical comedy. So far Rebecca was "romantically challenged" in "Rebecca's One Night Stand" and Lisa in the second episode, "The Charade." Maybe Shawn and Perry will get one of those soon, but so far their "buddy" plots have been spot on and hilarious in these two episodes that were made available for review. Well, Shawn did meet that woman in episode two that made him forget about picking Perry up from the dentist!

The series has 6 episodes taped, but as of now only 4 episodes are scheduled to air. Let's hope it hits big and the two episode that don't air are held over for a second season! The series will certainly be sampled as it will air after Dancing with the Stars. Also, the competing CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory will be in repeats on April 19, 26 and May 3 (though on May 3 a new episode airs at 9pm of that show leading into a repeat). I urge fans of that show to check out this sitcom while Bang is in repeats. We need more traditional sitcoms like this on the air! It is good and has potential to be even better if given the chance. Usually sitcoms of this nature need some more time to develop to find its footing (like Seinfeld, Cheers, Facts of Life). The mind of Ricky Blitt is genius and the legendary James Burrows is directing. Of all the traditional sitcoms to premiere this season, this is by far the best one (loads better than Accidentally on Purpose, Brothers and Hank). It's not Modern Family, but this is not to be compared to that since this is not a family comedy (nor it is single camera).

Alyssa Milano is still funny and still stunning! I am so glad she is back on TV (see below for some talk show appearances she is doing)! Josh Lawson is a surprise player on this show and should breakout big time. Kyle Bornheimer continues his great comedic timing, especially in the second episode. And the lovely Kelly Stables is perky with big laughs. What more can I say but watch the premiere LIVE on TV this Monday at 9:30pm on ABC. It will help the show if you watch it live (not DVR), especially if you're home at that time. So get out your musketballs and make pouty lips and do a double hair toss right in time for the premiere because you'll enjoy this show! Knowing Perry's credit card number is not needed to watch!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

-- Reviewed by Pavan on 4/16/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, April 19 on our message board.

Related Links:

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

    Preview:




    Fox has updated its summer schedule with Hell's Kitchen now making its seventh season premiere on Tuesday, June 1 at 8:00 PM ET/PT and culinary competition series Masterchef premiering Tuesday, July 27 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. The new summer season of So You Think You Can Dance will air performance shows on Wednesdays and results shows on Thursdays now following the season premiere on Thursday, May 27 form 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT. In addition, acclaimed new series, Glee, will air encores throughout the summer on Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET/PT.
    Everything else from the original announcement of summer 2010 will remain. View our previous story.


    It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
    For the week of April 19-23, 2010, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

    Monday, April 19, 2010
    • Alyssa Milano (Romantically Challenged/Who's the Boss?) - Alyssa is making the rounds promoting her new sitcom (which launches on this night at 9:30pm on ABC). First she will be on ABC's Good Morning America in Times Square sometime between 7-9am and then she heads on to W. 66th Street to do ABC's The View at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Tim Allen (Home Improvement) - Tim stops by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:05am, as he promotes hosting the TV Land Awards.
    • Craig Robinson (The Office)- Craig will stop by NBC's Today Show sometime between 7-9am.
    • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Doogie Howser) - Neil has to see the ladies of The View. Airs 11am ET/10am CT/PT on ABC.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    • Jenna Elfman (Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:05am ET on ABC.
    • Lisa Kudrow (Friends) - Lisa will be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show so check your local listings for time and channel.
    • Craig Robinson (The Office) - Craig will be on CNN's Larry King Live at 9pm.
    • Ken Jeong (Community) - Ken will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC at 11:35pm.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - The sexy Kaley Cuoco stops by The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS at 11:35pm.
    • Craig Robinson (The Office) - Craig will be on Colbert Report on Comedy Central at 11:30pm.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David will be on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm ET to promote his CBS sitcom.
    • Alyssa Milano (Romantically Challenged/Who's the Boss?) - Alyssa stops by to talk about her new sitcom on The Joy Behar Show on HLN at 9pm.
    • Anthony Anderson (All About the Andersons/Hang Time/Bernie Mac) - Anthony chats on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live at 12:05am.
    • Busy Phillips (Cougar Town) - The sexy Busy stops by to talk on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:35am.
    • Lisa Kudrow (Friends) - Lisa stops by Tavis Smiley Show, check local PBS listings for time and channel.
    • Chevy Chase (Community) - Chevy stops by NBC's Today show between 7-9am then he will head on to chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT/PT.
    • Wandy Sykes (Old Christine) - The funny lady stops by another funny lady's show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Check your listings.
    • Malcolm Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Sherri) -Malcolm stops by BET's Mo'nique Show at 11pm.
    • Ken Jeong (Community) - Ken chats it up on Lopez Tonight on TBS at 11pm.

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    • Kelsey Grammar (Cheers/Frasier/Hank) - Kelsey stops by CBS's Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm.
    • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show) - Drew will appear on his buddy's show, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:35am.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - This is a repeat from a few weeks ago, but catch Tina on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC at 12:35am.
    Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!

  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, January 25

    Abbott Elementary - "Student Transfer" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    After a negative teacher review, Janine gets a confidence boost when a student gets transferred from Melissa’s class into hers, but it turns out the student proves to be too much to handle. While trying to forge a friendship with an uninterested Gregory, it is revealed that Jacob is constantly getting roasted by his students. The two bond after Gregory unintentionally gives Jacob the idea to incorporate the roasts in an educational way.

    black-ish - "Hoop Dreams" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Jack gets a job as the locker room attendant for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Dre and Bow feel like they need to step in before letting the job get to his head. Meanwhile, Pops and Ruby realize their daily routine has gotten boring and heed advice from Junior and Olivia.

    American Auto - "Commercial" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Katherine and the team reshoot a commercial to make it more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.

    Grand Crew - "Wine & Pie" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Noah's dad is in a funk, so he asks Fay to make his favorite pie; Sherm teaches Anthony to play chess; Wyatt introduces the crew to his brother.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 24)

    Tuesday, January 25

    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Catch Kristen on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Ike Barinholtz (The Afterparty/Bless the Harts/The Mindy Project) - Ike appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Nicole Byer (Grand Crew/Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Thomas Middleditch (B Positive/Silicon Valley) - Thomas will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Jim Belushi (According to Jim) - Jim is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Mike Schur (The Office/Creator of Parks and Recreation/Brooklyn Nine-Nine/The Good Place/Rutherford Falls) - Mike appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. NBC's Today catches up with Mike in the 9am hour.
    • Francia Raisa (How I Met Your Father/growni-ish) - Francia appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show.
    • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Autumn Reeser (Complete Savages/Grounded for Life) - Autumn appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Marsai Martin (black-ish)- Marsai talks about her new Discovery+ series Remix My Space! on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Kevin James (The Crew/Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin talks about Home Team on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Ming-Na Wen (The Single Guy) - Ming-Na talks about The Book of Boba Fett on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-January)

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