Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fox Fall Pilot Review: I Hate My Teenage Daughter - Premieres November 30; Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse Delivers for TBS


I Hate My Teenage Daughter

I Hate My Teenage Daughter - Wednesdays 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 9:30PM ET/PT


I Hate My Teenage Daughter is a new multi-camera family comedy starring Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as single moms, best friends – and former nerds – who fear their privileged and overly indulged daughters are turning out just like the mean girls who picked on them in high school.

Annie (Pressly), who was raised in an ultra-strict, ├╝ber-religious household where she had little-to-no freedom, pretty much allows her daughter, Sophie (Kristi Lauren), to do whatever she wants. Annie's best friend Nikki (Finneran), once an unpopular, overweight social pariah, is now a pretty Southern belle who also allows her daughter, Mackenzie (Aisha Dee), to do as she pleases.

The moms have given the girls everything they’ve asked for and everything they never had: clothes, money and self-esteem. The unintended consequence is that they have created two mean girls just like the ones who tortured them years ago.

The series also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens as Annie's ex-husband Matt, who wants to be a good parent, but doesn't know what that even means; Kevin Rahm as Matt's brother Jack, a father figure to Sophie whose meddling would annoy Annie more if she didn't have such a crush on him; and Chad L. Coleman as Gary, Nikki's ex-husband, who also tries to help raise his challenging daughter, but the couple's complicated relationship often makes his involvement more difficult.

As their daughters begin to experience their first high school dances and other life-changing teen events, Annie and Nikki are often reminded of their own tortured adolescent years. But when Sophie and Mackenzie's mean-girl antics cross the line, the moms quickly realize that they must, for the first time, dole out some real punishment and fix what is broken. They have no idea how to do that, but they do know one thing: They can't do it without each other.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter is produced by Bonanza Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Sherry Bilsing-Graham (The New Adventures of Old Christine, Friends) and Ellen Kreamer (The New Adventures of Old Christine, Friends) are executive producers. The series is written by Bilsing-Graham and Kreamer. Andy Ackerman (Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine) executive-produced and directed the pilot.

Cast Details:

Jaime Pressly as Annie
Katie Finneran as Nikki
Kristi Lauren as Sophie
Aisha Dee as Mackenzie
Eric Sheffer Stevens as Matt
Kevin Rahm as Jack
Chad L. Coleman as Gary

Jaime Pressly's (Annie) beauty, talent and natural screen presence have earned her a place among Hollywood's elite. Best known as the feisty "Joy Turner" on My Name is Earl, she won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007. She also received a Golden Globe and a SAG Award.

Pressly's film credits include I Love You, Man, Not Another Teen Movie, Ticker, The Adventures of Joe Dirt, Tomcats, Ringmaster and Can't Hardly Wait. She will next be seen in The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure and 6 Month Rule. Her television credits include Jack and Jill, the made-for-TV movie Evel Knievel and Happy Family.

A seasoned theater actress, Katie Finneran (Nikki) received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in the recent Broadway revival of Promises, Promises as well as Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in the Broadway revival of Noises Off.

Her film appearances include Baby on Board, Broken Bridges, Firehouse Dog, Miss Congeniality 2, Bewitched, You've Got Mail, Liberty Heights and Night of the Living Dead. Finneran's television credits include The Inside, Wonderfalls, Bram and Alice, Frasier and Oz.

Kristi Lauren (Sophie) has had a passion for entertainment for as long as she can remember. With a love to make people laugh, she has participated in various improv shows at the Raven Playhouse and at the prestigious The Second City.

The 17-year-old's television credits include Working Class and Wizards of Waverly Place, and her film work includes You starring Melora Hardin and Joely Fisher.

Aisha Dee (Mackenzie) has trained since a very young age in voice and all styles of dance, including Jazz, Tap and Classical Ballet. In recent years she has continued her dance training at Industry of Dance, where she worked with some of Australia's best practitioners. She furthered her studies at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney.

After beginning her career in commercials, Dee was cast in the hugely popular international series The Saddle Club, a co-production between Australia's Crawford Productions and Canada's Protocol Entertainment. She then went on to do Skyrunners, which was shot on location in New Zealand. In 2009, Dee appeared in Dead Gorgeous, and also will be seen in TERRA NOVA.

Upon completing his graduate degree at the University of Alabama/Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Eric Sheffer Stevens (Matt) pursued a career in theater, starring in the world premiere of Keith Reddin's play "Synergy" at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

Sheffer Stevens' work on television first earned critical acclaim on As the World Turns in which he played neurosurgeon "Dr. Reid Oliver." The character's controversial storyline immediately became a fan favorite and garnered Sheffer Stevens widespread recognition. His other recent projects include Julie & Julia and guest spots on The Big C, Body of Proof and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Kevin Rahm (Jack) was most recently seen as a series regular on Desperate Housewives and as a recurring character on Mad Men. His other TV credits include The Mentalist, Three Rivers, CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, CSI: NY, Grey's Anatomy, Friends, Ally McBeal, Jesse, Everything's Relative, and Judging Amy. He has appeared in the films Route 30, Alfie, Nurse Betty and several other independents.

Chad L. Coleman (Gary) won critical acclaim for his portrayal of "Dennis ‘Cutty' Wise" on the Peabody Award-winning drama series The Wire. His other television credits include Lie to Me, The Good Wife, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, New Amsterdam, The Forgotten, CSI: Miami, Life on Mars, Numb3rs, Hack, Third Watch, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order and New York Undercover.

Coleman's film credits include Horrible Bosses, Green Hornet, The Guilded Six Bits, Brother to Brother and Carlito's Way: Rise to Power. He will next be seen in the independent features Confessions of a Call Girl and Life, Love & Soul.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" - After Sophie (Kristi Lauren) and MacKenzie (Aisha Dee) lock a student in the school bathroom, Annie (Jaime Pressly) and Nikki (Katie Finneran) must punish their daughters by not allowing them to attend the school dance. On the night of the dance, the mothers try to hold firm on their decision, despite the girls’ best efforts to derail their punishments, while the fathers make the situation worse.
Directed by Andy Ackerman

The second episode was also available for review. It airs on Wednesday, December 7 at 9:30/8:30c.

"Teenage Family Night" - In an effort to reconnect with the girls, Annie reinstates an old tradition of "Family Night," even though the adults are all now divorced. Of course, nothing seems to go right. The girls try to escape, Nikki becomes outraged when she learns that Gary (Chad L. Coleman) is dating someone new and Annie is thrown when Jack (Kevin Rahm) shows up with a hot date.

Analysis:

In the "Pilot" episode, Annie and Nikki are talking about two people and in walk their daughters. Annie says they are mean to them and Nikki says she hates them. Annie makes some french toast for Sophie and asks her to change her clothes to something more appropriate. Nikki tells Gary that he wants Mackenzie to go to the dance in a limo. The next day the moms go to the school to talk to the principal Ms. Diego. They learn that the girls locked Gerard Thompson, a student in a wheelchair, in the girls' bathroom. Annie talks to her ex-husband Matt about Sophie. His brother Jack also joins the conversation. Later that night at Nikki's house, the moms and daughters argue for several hours. Gary and Matt come to the house after receiving some texts. Jack gets some texts from Nikki and brings her some pies. Sophie apologizes to Annie and they leave to go home. After Annie discovers that Nikki allowed Mackenzie to go to the dance, she decdies to let Sohpie go as well. When they discover who Gerard Thompson really is, they decide to punish the girls at the dance.

In the second episode "Teenage Faily Night," Nikki looks at Mackenzie's Facebook page and talks to Annie who also finds Sophie's account. At the coffee shop, the adults talk about their daughters. Annie suggests they have a Family Night to try to reconnect with their daughters. She invites Jack to the night as well. Annie confiscates their cellphones in a bowl. Nikki becomes upset when she learns that Gary is dating again. The daughters are bored and manage to escape, but Annie brings them back to the house. A bass player for Matt's band arrives to audition. Jack shows up with his hot date Dominque. When she thinks she's alone in the kitchen with Nikki, she expresses that she has feelings for Jack.

Fox hasn't had many multi-camera sitcoms on their lineup in recent years, so it's nice to see them give another one a try. This is pretty typical sitcom fare. The pilot is fast-paced with many different scenes and one liners. There are references to Full House, Little House on the Prairie and Dirty Dancing. Wendy McClendon-Covey is funny in her few scenes as Principal Diego. I believe Rosa Blasi played the role in the original pilot, but they reshot it. The final scene at the dance is probably the highlight of the episode.

It can be unusual when the pilot episode is better than the second episode, but I think that's the case here. The second episode focuses more on the adults, with the daughters only minimally involved. There are just fewer laughs. It's a bit more serious of an episode in tone. I think they need to have the right balance of scenes with the parents and daughters like in the pilot. The show could also benefit by having some flashback scenes with Pressly and Finneran. They have some guest stars lined up for future episodes that should be interesting. Guest stars will include Ryan McPartlin, Keegan Allen and Mark Consuelos in a recurring role as teacher-turned crush interest for Annie.

Conclusion:

It has been a banner year for new comedies on the broadcast networks. While I Hate My Teenage Daughter is enjoyable enough, it's really not at the same level quality wise as New Girl, 2 Broke Girls or Suburgatory. The comparison for this new show is Last Man Standing. Both of these shows are watchable, but they both have some room to grow after the first few episodes. There just really isn't much unique about it that really hasn't been done before and some of the jokes seem a bit predictable and forced. This show does have one big thing going for it with Jaime Pressly as the main star. It's a joy to see her on another comedy. She was so funny on My Name Is Earl and won an Emmy for her role. Pressly and Finneran appear to have some good comedic chemistry and have fun here. The rest of the supporting cast aren't really household names. I wasn't very familiar with them, but they do a decent enough job. Kevin Rahm is hilarious as Lee on Desperate Housewives, but he's really not given much to do here and his character isn't nearly as funny.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter has a comfortable timeslot following The X Factor. It should be receive some good sampling the first few weeks. I don't think it will be a breakout or critical hit, but it should generate some respectable ratings. Fox has had mostly single-camera and animated comedies in recent years, so it's nice to see them give a chance to a traditional multi-camera sitcom. This show should be relatable to both parents and teenagers and provide some good laughs. If you are a fan of Jaime Pressly, you will definitely want to check this one out. This is clearly a vehicle for her, since she's in almost every scene.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/29/11

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, November 30 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • I Hate My Teenage Daughter Photo Gallery

    Preview:






    Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse premiered on Friday (Nov. 25) and drew 3.4 million viewers for its launch on TBS. The original sitcom (well this time a dramedy) is the latest from writer-director-producer Tyler Perry and is based on his Why Did I Get Married? movies. The 10 p.m. premiere of Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse averaged more than 3.3 million viewers, with a demo delivery of 1.8 million adults 18-49. The 10:30 p.m. episode grew to more than 3.4 million viewers, while holding firm with 1.8 million adults 18-49. The series has a 10 episode order, but like the other Tyler Perry series, if it does well they will order a bulk of episodes. The season finale is scheduled for Friday, December 23.
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