9 May 2006 | KUAlum26
Julia Louis Dreyfus seems to have found a good fit
Having watched a couple of episodes of NBC's experimental sitcom "Watching Ellie" and being unimpressed,I was intrigued by the ads for this new series from CBS. While it is unfair to EVER measure most TV comedies to "Seinfeld",any former member of that series is going to have that comparison thrust on them(to me,only Jerry Stiller' s turns on "The King of Queens" even come close to the kind of work done on "Seinfeld",and has been the most successful) no matter what. I think this might be the closest thing to respectable.
Dreyfus is Christine Campbell,a divorced mom of one,and is desperately in need of two things:trying to prove she can be a great mom to her skeptical and bright son and a dating life/relationship to match the relative ease that her seemingly weaselly ex has gotten back into love,having a girlfriend who happens to also be named Christine,hence the title:there's "New" Christine(the girlfriend) and "Old" Christine,the ex. Each episode is another attempt by Dreyfus's Christine to try to fit in to the rich Florida society that she lives in with her son and brother,a wise-cracking ostensible slacker named Matthew who is sort of her best friend. Along for the adventures is Barb(Wanda Sykes-Hall,hilarious,particularly in her stand-up),who you're not really sure if she likes Christine or is really tolerating her(or perhaps doing both).
So far,I'd say the show isn't great,and Dreyfus' Christine seems to be so desperate and pathetic that one loses sympathy for her plight almost as quickly as one gains it. But the writing seems crisp and it actually feels like we're getting to see all the manic elements of Dreyfus' Elaine Benes channeled into a different character,which is something they didn't even TRY to do in "Ellie"(they just pretty much tried to graft Elaine onto another show there!),and that feels just right. I can honestly say I've laughed at at least half the lines on the show and haven't been TOO distracted by some of the plot indulgences(for example,the sharp-tongued acquaintances who are always somehow around the rub in Old Christine's misery,particularly at her son's private school seem to be awfully familiar with her,though they just met her). I'll guess we'll just have to see how this plays out and if CBS wants to stay with it,but so far,I'm pleased,reasonably so.