Good Morning, Miami
- TV Series
A talented young TV producer arrives in Miami to revamp the lowest-rated morning show in the country.A talented young TV producer arrives in Miami to revamp the lowest-rated morning show in the country.A talented young TV producer arrives in Miami to revamp the lowest-rated morning show in the country.
Season Reviewed: Complete series (2 seasons)
Good Morning, Miami' was not a great sitcom, it deserved every bit of the critical thrashing it got after the pilot episode aired. However, based on the turns it took and the results of the final few episodes in the first season, as well as several in the abbreviated 2nd, it looked like it was heading down the road to being quite good. And, despite some shameless unoriginal qualifications, it was quite funny. Which puts it a peg above most shows. It's a classic, now all too common, example of a network playing poker with a TV show due to behind-the-scenes politics and also the uselessness of TV critics who watch only the first few episodes of a series in the package they receive and don't update or follow up on the show as it changes.
The show was recklessly mismanaged and falsely advertised by NBC specifically Jeff Zucker (to name names) from the very beginning. 'Miami', the latest series from David Kohan and Max Mutchnick ('Will & Grace', the cult 'Boston Common'), was, from the look of it, shoved on the air a year before it was ready to make way for NBC's remake of 'Coupling' . 'Coupling' was the show Zucker expected to be greeted with rousing ovations and easily slide into the 'Friends' timeslot without missing a beat when that show left the air the next year. Despite this, it was Zucker who stood up at his press convention and loudly touted that 'Miami' was going to have a will-they-or-won't-they relationship "to even surpass Ross and Rachael" (much to the cheers of pre-teen girls everywhere I'm sure). So, 'Miami' was put out there and forced to iron out it's kinks while everyone watched. That pilot is bogged down in so much Don't Be Alone preaching from Suzanne Pleshette that I shouldn't have given the show a second look.
For those that don't know, it follows Jake Silver (Mark Feuerstein, 'Caroline in the City') a TV producer who moves to Miami to save the bottom-of-the-ratings challenged title morning show. Instead of ditching this uphill climb he decides to stick around, help the show and in the process try to win over show hairstylist Dylan (Ashley Williams), whom he supposedly falls for after she runs her hands through his hair in the first episode. I must admit a failing: Ashley Williams is just too searingly hot to ignore. In this case, her lack of real acting chops doesn't really matter. She is kept sparingly from us in the first season, left an open book for the viewer to fill in. She has the perfect cute-girl-next-door looks that make for a believable muse.
As I watched the show changed and improved before my eyes. I slowly began to not only take it off mute, but become engaged in it. Then it did something that most time-slot hit sitcoms never do it made me laugh. Genuine belly laughs. They canned their more obnoxious characters and eventually, it found a groove. The writing sharpened (as if it grabbed writers that just jumped ship from 'Futurama' at the time) and the cast became more comfortable. Despite NBC's relentless false advertising, the stories stayed away from the kind of relationship melodrama that makes 'Friends' so insufferable. The stories became more loosely constructed once the humorous dynamics in the cast where found and the show was more of a character comedy than a strict relationship series. Much of the credit for the show's success lies with the impeccable deadpan comic delivery of Constance Zimmer and Matt Letscher. These are pretty stock characters (calling back to 'Newsradio') but a great performance is still a great performance. When asked where his maid is, Letscher knows exactly how long to hold the pause while looking around at the junk piled up in his apartment before dryly responding "She's under here somewhere". Zimmer wins the Most Likely to Get Her Own Show award.
More changes where made in the re-tooled 2nd season. Another anchor babe was added, Suzanne Pleshette (a pistol of energy at the end of the first season) left for '8 Simple Rules' leaving a fun dynamic between her character and the otherwise annoying Jere Burns twisting in the wind. But mostly the show looked to be heading in the right direction. A villain (Tiffani Amber-Thessen) was wisely added. They raced out Jake and Dylan sleeping together in the season premiere to pop that bubble and shift the focus from relationship drama to free-wheeling jokes. Zimmer and Letscher remained the stars though. A story point in which Gavin gets hooked on coffee shop punch cards is Kramer-esquire - and I mean that in a good way.
This was a cute, stupidly funny pure sitcom with some high wattage talent behind it (veteran directors like James Burrows and David Trainer), It was worth a look and deserved a chance. After 'Coupling' flamed out Zucker should have realized the potential he had with it. Instead he used it as leverage after Kohen and Mutnick filed a breach of contract lawsuit against NBC. Like the innocent daughter of an action movie hero, 'Miami' had a gun pointed at it's head because of who it knew and where was. Without any input from the audience the show was cancelled. Just the fact that I kept up with all this is the biggest compliment. 'Miami' was the best in NBC's long recent roster of time-slot hits. Remember 'Caroline in the City', 'Veronica's Closet', 'Fired Up' or the wretched 'Suddenly Susan'? Exactly. This is the one relationship show I would have watched. A fluffy, light-weight, entertaining guilty pleasure. And Ashley Williams is adorable.
* * ½
- Oct 18, 2004