TV Review: 'Samantha Who?'
For two episodes, at least, it works just fine, thanks in no small part to a very charming lead performance from
The show's producers insist that "Samantha Who?," which premieres at 9:30 p.m. ET Monday on
It's also true, though, that the show repeatedly mines Samantha's condition -- after a car accident, she awakes from an eight-day coma with no recollection of who she is -- for jokes. Over the first two episodes, Samantha is frequently appalled when she learns of things she used to do -- and again, several of those bits bring laughs. But it's also not hard to imagine that idea wearing thin by, say, episode seven.
Here's hoping, though, that the writers find a way to tweak that premise, because there's more to enjoy in "Samantha Who?" than to nitpick.
For starters, Applegate is entirely winning as the bewildered Sam. She gets a number of chances to put her physical-
Her self-absorbed parents, played by Kevin Dunn and the wonderful Jean Smart, just want their little girl back (they haven't spoken in two years). Her wicked best friend Andrea (Jennifer Esposito) is glad to have her wingwoman and drinking buddy back in the game (even though Sam's in AA). Dena (Melissa McCarthy) wants back in her life, even though she and Sam haven't been friends since seventh grade. And her boyfriend Todd (Barry Watson) -- well, he's not sure he's even her boyfriend anymore.
They all want a piece of her (even Todd, maybe), and there seems to be strong chemistry across the cast -- really, there's not a weak link here. Smart's Regina somehow manages to make her daughter's condition a burden for her, and Esposito gleefully digs into her bad-girl enabler. Tim Russ, who plays the doorman in Sam's building, provides some deadpan perspective as the one person who doesn't really care what Samantha's deal is.