10 November 2002 | richard.fuller1
Good idea and well structured, but the pilot was redone. Why?
The Famous Teddy Z, about a young man who works in the mailroom of a HOllywood agency, then punches out a star and becomes the celebrity's agent, was alleged to be based on an actual incident with Marlon Brando. When the actor would show up in later episodes, he would even be similar to Brando. Jane Sibbett would be the agency's secretary, who Teddy (Jon Cryer) was in love with, but she couldn't stand him. Alex Rocco would be an incompetent agent who also worked in the office. Now here is where this show went odd. There was a pilot that had Sibbett as Cryer's main antagonist. She would use him for her own benefit when she learned he was now an agent. Rocco ran through, said his lines a la Ted Baxter of "Mary Tyler Moore" or Herb Tarlek of "WKRP in Cincinnati", then vacated. Then the Marlon Brando actor appeared in an episode, got his laughs. Then the pilot was redone, showing the Marlon Brando actor again, but this time instilling Alex Rocco more in the show's plotline. He would work alongside Teddy Z, the agent of a big client. Hugh Wilson, who made Mary Tyler Moore and WKRP, also made this show. His only show NOT to have the bumbler in it was Frank's PLace, with Tim Reid. Yet the notion that the idiot here had to be center stage, as Ted and Herb eventually became, ruined the show. Al Floss, the agent Rocco portrayed, worked better in the background, such as when he kept getting a good deal for a dead actor. And this show suffered for the need of having Rocco up front. Alex Rocco would win the Emmy for Supporting Actor for this show, obviously because all actors knew an agent like Al Floss. The Al Floss character was superbly spineless and weak, out to please the clients (The Sean Penn character who appears is decked by Teddy's aunt, played by LIz Torres. Teddy gets the actor to behave by threatening to tell the tabloids the tough guy was hit by a woman. "Hey, good going, kid" Al Floss says, then he and another agent tear after the actor like lap dogs to do his bidding. it was all hilarious!)
But there was no need for Al Floss to be pushed up to the front like that. This is the only show I know of with two separate pilots. My brother teases me about the actual pilot all the time.