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Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2010-2011 season. Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere next season (or one that didn't make the cut) and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. Keep in mind that a lot can change from what's being screened right now - recasting, reshooting, etc. - but we still want to give you a heads up on what you should (and shouldn't) keep on your radar in the coming months. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!
[IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is based on the original sales presentation which was screened to us privately or supplied by a third party NOT an informational, not-for-review screener provided by the network in question.]
(written by Josh Schwartz & Matt Miller; directed by Rob Greenberg; TRT: 20:55)
The network's description: No official description has been released...
What did they leave out? ...so everything. Also, Kristin Kreuk was originally cast as the female lead before being replaced by Sara Fletcher.
The plot in a nutshell: Lawyer Brett (Jack Carpenter) and veterinarian Rachel (Sara Fletcher) have just returned home from their honeymoon to find Brett's father Jerry (Eugene Levy) has made himself a little too comfortable while apartment-sitting. Even worse, Jerry's lost track of Hector, Rachel's beloved cat, and now he and Brett must recover him before Rachel finds out. Meanwhile, Rachel's just learned that her well-to-do parents - Wally (Kurtwood Smith) and Judy (Sharon Lawrence) - have bought them a dream condo by the lake for their wedding present, news which will surely upset the principled-we're-going-to-do-it-by-ourselves Brett. Now she'll just have to find the easiest way to break it to him.
Aiding and/or distracting them from their foibles are their respective best friends: Shari (Riki Lindhome), who's thrilled to finally have another married couple to hang out with; and Zarnow (Thomas Middleditch), who's hurt by the prospect of losing his former roommate to his new bride. Before long Jerry finds a stopgap solution - he finds a lookalike replacement Hector - while Rachel tries to soft sell the virtues of giving, hoping it will warm Brett up to the prospect of her parents' gift.
Their efforts however inadvertently expose their underlying resentment towards each other's parents (Jerry's always around! Wally can't let go!), and their parents' resentment towards the other's family (Jerry interrupted Wally's toast! Wally wears loafers!). Ultimately, after the wheels come off their secret schemes and despite the best poisoning efforts by their parents, Brett and Rachel realize they're the most important people in each other's lives.
What works: Where...
What doesn't: ...do I even begin? First - and most obviously - it plays just as generically as it reads above. Carpenter's Brett is like an annoying, nebbish version of Zachary Levi who clings to excruciatingly painful sports metaphors about his relationship with Rachel that literally run throughout the entire show. "Together we can defeat any opponent, no matter what curve ball life throws at us."; "Before we were playing singles, now we're playing doubles."; "It's a two man squad. It's like the luge, you put a couple more people in the luge, it's a bobsled."; "You might be fans, even season ticket holders, but you're not the owners." Please someone put a box over my head and beat it with a stick.
Throw in the cliched "hijinks" - wasn't the replacement pet storyline old when "Meet the Parents" did it 10 years ago? (Rachel: "Brett this is not the same cat... he never used to cuddle like this!"), some genuinely cringe-worthy lines (Jerry: "My father was a quarter Latin, my pelvis has dual citizenship."), using the first couple notes from "Be My Baby" (the title theme) as the bumper between every single scene, and you have the recipe for...
The bottom line: ...let's just say nothing good.