[07/09/07 - 06:10 PM]
The Futon's First Look: "Eight Days a Week" (The CW)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2007-2008 season. Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere this season and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. While it's still a little early for full reviews (some recasting and reshooting will be done on a good chunk of them), we still want to give you a heads up on what you should - and shouldn't - keep on your radar in the coming months.

And as an added bonus this year, each day we'll also take a look at one of the pilots that didn't make the cut. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!

(TBA at midseason)

The network's description: "Twenty-somethings Olivia Campbell (Christina Milian, "Love Don't Cost a Thing"), Riley McGann (Anna Chlumsky, "My Girl"), Ben Bradley (Johnny Lewis, "The O.C."), and Daniel "Sarge" Sargent (Robert Ri'chard, "One on One") are close friends with one thing in common: they're all paying their dues with demanding, entry-level jobs with outrageously egocentric bosses in New York City. These four pals are at that time of life when everything is new and exciting, and having a job has just morphed from abstract concept to daily reality. Riley works for Nathan Bloom (guest star RonReaco Lee, "The Shield"), a narcissistic website entrepreneur; Sarge is the assistant for Peter Lee (Mario Lopez, "Dancing with the Stars"), a pretentious hedge fund operator; Ben is a musician who spends his days as the assistant/babysitter to Randi Rome (Rosa Blasi, "Strong Medicine"), a hard-partying publicist; and Olivia gave up a promising law career to follow her passion for art, taking a receptionist job with Marjorie Walsh (newcomer Jerrika Hinton), a cold and trend-obsessed gallery owner. In other words: nightmare jobs. What keeps them sane at the end of the day is the support and understanding of good friends living through the tough times together. They may not have money or job satisfaction, but they have each other. "Eight Days a Week" is from Hazy Mills Productions in association with CBS Paramount Network Inc. and Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace," "Situation Comedy"), Todd Milliner ("Situation Comedy") and Betsy Borns ("Friends," "Roseanne"). Arlene Sanford ("Desperate Housewives") directed the pilot."

What did they leave out: That about covers it.

The plot in a nutshell: Olivia (Christina Milian), Riley (Anna Chlumsky, all growed up), Ben (Johnny Lewis) and Sarge (Robert Ri'chard) are four best friends (and except for the former, roommates) living in New York City, slogging their way through their crappy entry level jobs - with even crappier bosses - as they pursue their respective dreams. For Olivia, our narrator, it's as the assistant to the always difficult Marjorie Walsh (Jerrika Hinton), a hip gallery owner who holds the keys to Olivia's future in the art world - one she left her cushy law school digs for. The same goes for the rest of our heroes - for Riley, it's working for Nathan Bloom (RonReaco Lee), an egotistical web guru; for Ben, it's as the proverbial babysitter to the boozy Randi Rome (Rosa Blasi), the music world's PR queen; and for Sarge, it's as the gatekeeper to the pretentious Peter Lee (Mario Lopez), a hedge fund operator. All four then are on call - you guessed it - eight days a week it seems. Whether it be Peter needing a case of Red Bull, Marjorie wanting her dry cleaning or Nathan looking for his missing Knicks tickets, their requests are frequent and always painfully mundane. Thankfully, for the most part, they have each other to lean on when things get too tough - such as when Olivia is tasked with anything and everything for the gallery's latest showing. Making matters worse: her ex (Derrex Brady) is actually moving on, a fact made more complicated by the fact they still live together platonically. The good news is there's room for her at the gang's apartment but even their help may not be enough to make the finicky Marjorie happy. Meanwhile in subplot land, the seeds are sown for the inevitable Olivia/Sarge and Riley/Ben pairings; Ben struggles with managing his job and band commitments; and Sarge learns his co-worker (Max Greenfield) has pulled in front of him in the rat race. In the end, when it seems like there's no hope - fate (or in TV's case, the script) steps in to give them a ray of hope via some unexpected kindness by (some of) their bosses.

What works: Somewhere in this show beats the heart of what it's like to start out at the bottom and the comradery that's built on those front lines. That, coupled with a quartet of likeable leads, makes for a potentially fun show. Now, if only...

What doesn't: ...it was actually funny, or more specifically had some actual jokes. You can easily count on one hand the number of attempts to be funny and even those are of the "shrug" variety. Not helping matters is that only the bosses seem to be having any fun, leaving our leads to just smile and be perky. In fact, except for Olivia, there's few attempts to give the gang actual personalities or tangible ambitions. We're told - the backbreaker of all scripts - their respective hopes and dreams, but only given a few windows to how that inspires them or gets them through the day. Riley in particular gets the short end of the stick here, as it's not exactly clear what she hopes her job will lead to. All in all, I wish there was more meat to examine here as it clearly occupies that least interesting of critical places - forgettable.

The bottom line: What was that again?

  [july 2007]  


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