6 March 2004 | Victor Field
Not a match made in heaven.
When "Miss Match" premiered in America, the smart money was on the series defeating its freshman competition "Joan of Arcadia" - with Alicia Silverstone back in good-hearted romantic mode and Darren Star behind the scenes, it couldn't fail up against the more dubious-sounding premise of a troubled teenage girl who has conversations with God. (LivingTV certainly seems to think so; they've bought both shows, but "Miss Match" is now airing weekly in prime time whereas "Joan of Arcadia" will be airing in June, stripped across weekday afternoons a la "Everwood.") Flashforward to March, and Amber Tamblyn's series has not only clobbered it in the Stateside ratings but also already secured a second year; unfortunately it's all too easy to see why.
It's refreshing to see something from Darren Star that isn't flavoured "bitter" - unlike "Sex and the City" and the dreadful "The $treet," this series benefits from having a lead character you don't want to kill, although the once and forever Cher Horovitz suffers from having a supporting cast that, apart from Lake Bell as her sexy single bartender friend, could either be better used (especially Ryan O'Neal as her more traditionally lawyer-ish dad) or just plain better (most of the others). Sweet-tempered though it is, it's not funny or dramatic enough to really work; and how much mileage can the writers really get from the lawyer-to-all-and-better-at-other-matches-than-her-own thing? (Then again, look how long "Three's Company" ran with just one plot.)
Easy to watch, and Alicia is as adorable as ever (though admit it, it's her friend who should be really beating them off), but I wouldn't get attached to it. Still, at least it's better than "Braceface." And "Sex and the City." And, in the case of Ryan O'Neal, infinitely better than "Love Story."