Monday, September 25, 2006

Never Judge a Show by it’s Pilot: THE CLASS.

Here is the premise. We have a group of twenty-somethings that are linked because they were in the same third grade class together. Twenty years later one of the class members Ethan Haas (Jason Ritter) falls in love and gets engaged with another classmate. He invites several more classmates to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the day they all met. The classmates range from cynical to suicidal. Things go wrong when Ethan’s fiancé dumps him at the party.

The Pilot for The Class has some good elements. Talented actors (Jason Ritter, Lizzy Caplan, Heather Goldenhersh, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jon Bernthal, Sean Maguire, Lucy Punch and Andrea Anders) a good creative team David Crane (Friends) & Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You) and was directed by James Burrows.

So why do I have doubts that this show will last past Christmas?

First, the show is about a bunch of twenty-somethings and the only people who care about twenty-somethings are other twenty-somethings. Those 20-somethings who do watch TV watch MTV or the new CW (By the way CBS, MTV & the new CW are owned by Viacom).

Second, when you promote the show by saying, "From the producers of Friends and Mad About You" people expect to see Friends and Mad About You. When you say that the show stars the son of the late John Ritter, people will expect to see Jack Tripper Jr. pratfalling left and right. Jason Ritter has his dad's looks, like his dad gives a hundred and ten percent to his performance and is a good anchor for the rest of cast, but the similarities end there. Please, let him be his own man. I don’t think that it was a coincidence that TV Land (Also owned by Viacom) had a Three’s Company marathon the weekend before the pilot aired.

Third, the pilot was more dedicated to the premise than the characters. A good pilot should tell us everything we need to know about the characters. The show has continuing story lines, but we need to know more before the cliffhanger. To no fault of the actors, I thought that characters were incomplete. Is the Yonk character (David Keith) an abusive husband? Is the Perry character (Sam Harris) in the closet or is he a cured homosexual? I need to know more in order to care about these characters. I also saw good chemistry between a couple of the characters but I don’t really see an ensemble. Lets see what happens in the next episode because I never judge a show by it’s pilot.

I did not see any improvement in the second episode. I think that an audience may fall in love with the characters over time, but don’t see the network giving them that time. I really liked the actors and can see their work on this show as a launching pad for bigger and better things.

To quote my favorite characters Kat(Lizzy Caplan)and Ethan(Jason Ritter),

Kat: Just so I know, um... how long are you gonna wallow?

Ethan: She left me an hour ago, I was thinking maybe an hour and ten minutes!

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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