Monday, March 14, 2005

Jake In Progress Is Definitely A Work In Progress

What is it with shows that are heavily hyped and only end up being disappointing? I watched the premiere of Fat Actress recently and was let down by the unevenness. Now comes another heavily hyped comedy, Jake In Progress, on ABC. ABC had a one-two punch at the beginning of the season with two heavily hyped shows that lived up to (and surpassed) the hype: Lost and Desperate Housewives. Unfortunately, Jake In Progress doesn't join such esteemed company.

It's not as though this show doesn't try. It does distinguish itself from other network comedies in a number of ways. It's a guy-centric romantic comedy. It's shot single camera-style (like most network dramas) and it has no laugh track. In addition, it's only half an hour long (not an hour long like Ally McBeal). The show revolves around Jake, a publicist played by John Stamos. After dating many women, he decides that he's looking for more of a relationship and the show follows him as he attempts to do so.

I'm happy to say that this show isn't awful. It's tons better than crap like Yes, Dear. However, based on the two episodes that premiered on Sunday night, it's not that good yet. John Stamos does a good job with the title character. He's likable and seems comfortable onscreen. The problem is that he really isn't given anything funny to say. The funny scenes in the two episodes were not because of Jake, but because of the supporting characters. The actor who plays Adrian, Jake's best friend from college, provides a few laughs. Also, one off characters like an actor who pretends to be gay as part of a Queer Eye For The Straight Guy-esque trio provide laughs as well.

Somehow the show doesn't end up as funny as it should be. The storylines for these first two episodes weren't so bad (although both of them had gay subplots for some reason), but they might have benefited if the show was an hour long. Since much of the show revolves around Jake being on his cell phone, I think that might have diluted some of the humor.

Jake In Progress has promise. The cast is good and the premise stands out among network television shows. If the show stays on beyond this season, it has the potential to become one of the most sophisticated comedies on network television. It could help ABC become as cutting edge with its comedy as Lost and Desperate Housewives made ABC cutting edge with its drama. However, it needs to find its voice and master its delicate balance between humor and romance. I'll try to check out this show whenever I can and see if it actually gets better.

1 comment:

  1. how can a show NOT be good with the STAMOS! he is a rockstar, pure and simple.