TV Review: 'The Return of Jezebel James'
"Jezebel James" isn't "Gilmore Girls," and the faster viewers deal with it and move on, the faster they'll find things they can enjoy. Sherman-Palladino got her start on traditional multi-camera sitcoms, and "Jezebel James" is a return to those roots. It's visually flat and none of the settings are even vaguely distinctive. Obnoxious laughter -- either canned or audience-provided -- interrupts every punchline, albeit only half-heartedly at times (Sherman-Palladino's writing has always produced different sorts of chuckles from, say,
I have no doubt that many a viewer is going to watch the first episode of "Jezebel James" and say, "I'd love this show if Sarah would get the baby, move to
A more fair comparison would be to put "Jezebel James" alongside "
While there's an awful lot of Lorelai Gilmore in Sarah, Posey is a less instantly ingratiating actress than Graham, which makes her a perfect choice. Sarah is high-strung and just a bit OCD, and Posey is happy to play her as prickly and just a bit annoying. Similarly, though Ambrose is certainly a better actress than Bledel, Coco isn't written to be instantly appealing. That's bound to leave some viewers thinking these sisters aren't very likeable characters, but if "Gilmore Girls" was about two women who viewers immediately loved and who loved each other, "Jezebel James" is about two characters who are tough to love and have a difficult time loving each other. I like and appreciate the difference and would be perfectly happy watching Posey and Ambrose -- both learning the sitcom format ropes -- deliver Sherman-Palladino's dialogue for many a week.
Unfortunately, through the two episodes sent to critics, "Jezebel James" doesn't appear to offer much more than that. Because it was an hour, "Gilmore Girls" had its well-populated universe created by the end of the pilot. With her new show Sherman-Palladino doesn't seem comfortable with the idea of A-stories and B-stories, so every episode feels mighty limited. As the man in Sarah's life,
In sports, announcers like to refer to which unproven players have the most upside and of all of FOX's comedies, "Jezebel James" is absolutely the one with the most upside. So what does FOX do? The network cancelled the show's planned post-"Idol" premiere and shunted it off to the wasteland Friday nights where only repeats of