31 July 2001 | ChRiS-803
Flawed, but well intended
Perhaps nobody has even heard of this defunct sitcom, but i'm sure it will eventually pop up someday on cable or late night TV. A simple premise: rich girl falls for poor boy is turned into a sparkling, mostly witty and well-acted series about the differences between two similar people with contrastingly different backgrounds. It does have its share of flaws and doesn't have the consistent witty edge that most other sitcoms have today, but thanks to a game cast, its never as dry and boring as some other sitcoms that somehow managed to avoid cancellation, but perhaps CBS was dooming the series on Friday nights during its brief run in 1999.
Its good to see David Odgen Stiers getting some good work after his embarrassing stint on "Two Guys and a Girl" and Swoozie Kurtz is always enjoyable and is perfectly cast. As for our golden couple, Brian Van Holt and Paget Brewster aren't exactly Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, but they are quite a cute couple and try to be funny. Van Holt replaced Dash Mitok after the initial pilot episode because there wasn't enough "chemistry" which is surprising since they both look the same, while initial cast photos also had another character that also has apaprently been dropped. Curiously, John Livingston and Judy Greer as the snotty kids are funny when they are given the chance to say their lines, but are always overshadowed by the rest of the cast and in some episodes they say one line and are reduced to standing around the fabulous production design. Brian Doyle Murray as Van Holt's loudish father is the weak link in the series, being a bit too much to handle on occasion.
13 episodes of the series had been shot, yet not filmed anywhere in the US. Us Australian audiences are getting a taste of all these episodes and so far, most havent disappointed. A few episodes really started to come out of their own branching the show in the right direction, but sadly by then CBS had no intention of continuing the series. Personally, i would have seen it been a good match in the Monday Night Block on CBS next to "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "The King of Queens", but the network isnt the first to launch a great series in an awful slot, and like shows like "Action", "Freaks and Geeks" and "Oh Grow Up", they all were canned during the 1999-2000 season.
Its not exactly exploring new territory, and may not be for all tastes, while some of it is a bit much for blue collar audiences, but for what its worth, its a funny series so if it ever pops up in the TV guide, do yourself a favour and give it a go, because you may be hooked.