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Old 03-14-2008, 02:12 PM   #1
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The Return of Jezebel James

Premiers tonight at 8 on Fox. I'm so excited to have a new Amy Sherman-Paladino show on the air.

Description from Fox:
SARAH TOMPKINS (Parker Posey) has everything a fancy girl could want in life: her own imprint at HarperCollins' children's division; a great big loft in Brooklyn; a young, energetic and only slightly terrified assistant, BUDDY (Michael Arden); and a perfect, no-strings-attached relationship with successful businessman MARCUS SONTI (Scott Cohen). She's about to publish the sequel to her successful young adult novel, The True Adventures of Jezebel James, she can do the splits, she's basically a size 2...so what on Earth could make this better?

A baby.

When Sarah's father, RONALD (Ron McLarty) – a man who takes other people's crap, fixes it, and then dumps it at his daughter's house – and mother TALIA (Dianne Wiest) remind Sarah that her life is not complete, she's irritated. This is a tune she's heard before. Where are the grandchildren? Does she think her parents are going to live forever? Does she think she's going to live forever? Sarah finally takes the nagging to heart and decides, why not? There's no husband, but she can do this without a husband. After all, she's done everything else without a husband. Decision made.

And then, suddenly, she hears the words she thought she'd never hear: "You can't." Her doctor tells her that she can't have a baby. She can adopt, she can consider other options, but she can't do this herself. Sarah's stunned. Impossible; she can do anything. There has to be a way around this.

Enter COCO TOMPKINS (Lauren Ambrose). Coco is Sarah's younger and, let's say, way less focused, sister. Coco is Sarah's polar opposite, down to her living situation, which is currently crashing on a couch in a friend's apartment next to a sick dog. Sarah tracks Coco down and makes her a proposition. She will hire Coco to carry her child. It would be like a job. A good one. With benefits...like a bed.

At first, Coco thinks Sarah is crazy. They have nothing in common; they don't understand each other. This idea is insane. Then Coco finds out about Jezebel James. The book that Sarah published, that she nurtured, is based on Coco's imaginary childhood friend. Surprised that Sarah even remembered, touched that she thought enough of it to make it a book, and stunned that anyone has come to her and asked her for anything, Coco agrees to the insane proposal. She will move in with Sarah, and she'll carry her baby. And off we go.

THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES comes from creator/executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino ("Gilmore Girls"), executive producer Daniel Palladino and Regency Television.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:56 PM   #2
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:50 PM   #3
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I'd rather have Lauren Graham back on TV than ASP, who really drove the show into the ground before she left, and it took them quite a while to get back on track before the series ended.
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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I think Amy and Dan Palladino are really brilliant and a very unique team. I'll probably check this out. I like Lauren Ambrose, too.

And I would rather have Alexis Bledel back on TV

But you don't want to get me started talking about Gilmore Girls. Rory especially. Hot damn.

The previews made it look like 'Jezebel James' will be your typical 30-minute, laugh-track sitcom. If this is true, I'm not too excited.
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:14 PM   #5
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I'm excited about the show but nervous about the laugh track. Watching "The Office," "Scrubs," "Arrested Development" and "My Name Is Earl" for the past few seasons, I've come to totally prefer audience-free sitcoms.
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by dsmith2904
I'm excited about the show but nervous about the laugh track. Watching "The Office," "Scrubs," "Arrested Development" and "My Name Is Earl" for the past few seasons, I've come to totally prefer audience-free sitcoms.
Absolutely. The laugh-track is not good.

And, even though I probably shouldn't, when I watch 'Jezebel James' I won't be able to stop myself from comparing it to Gilmore Girls (which obviously did not have a laugh-track and which is the greatest television show of all-time)
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:34 PM   #7
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Here's a review that I read today, he says it's a flop

By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / March 14, 2008

As Claire on "Six Feet Under," Lauren Ambrose stole many a scene with her low-key, mordant style. She was the depressed artist who could be so humorously underwhelmed by people. Ambrose's Claire embodied the show's blackly comic outlook so perfectly that, in the series finale, the story lines all came down to her point of view.

The Return of Jezebel James

Starring: Parker Posey, Lauren Ambrose,

Scott Cohen

On: Fox, Channel 25

Time: Tonight, 8-8:30 and 8:30-9

With her soft deadpan and her renegade vibe, the red-haired actress doesn't belong within a mile of a laugh track. And yet tonight, on the new Fox sitcom "The Return of Jezebel James," Ambrose has a laugh track practically sitting on her shoulder blasting its cackles out to the world. Like her "Jezebel" costar, indie-film regular Parker Posey, she is supposed to be a full-fledged Fox laugh riot. And guess what. She isn't. The show, which premieres tonight at 8 on Channel 25, is a full-fledged Fox flop.

Posey, so adept at being both ironic and sympathetic, is no better off in this unfunny mire. She plays a high-powered publishing-house editor named Sarah, who is so hyped up she seems in desperate need of medication. Posey plays her with all the subtlety of a vaudeville comic, using lots of antibiotic hand cream so we'll know she's neurotic. In this "Odd Couple" tale, she's the Felix.

Why does Sarah talk so fast? The show was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who made rapid speech into a sweet bond between mother and daughter on "Gilmore Girls." In "Jezebel," the breakneck speed is charmless, and it only makes the characters harder to believe. After watching Posey here, I admired "Gilmore" stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel all the more for their ability to remain human through all the words they had to spout.

Although she looks absolutely nothing like Posey, Ambrose plays Sarah's estranged, underachieving sister, Coco. Coco is a messy cynic who wears an Army green jacket and resents Sarah's success. When Sarah learns she can't conceive children, she contacts Coco. "I need your uterus," is what she says. What she means is that she wants Coco to carry a fetus for her. Why would Coco say yes? Why would she jettison her deeply held pride and move in with her judgmental sister to help Sarah have it all? For no good reason other than that the show must go on for seven episodes, which is all that Fox has ordered of this mess.

Sherman-Palladino might have had better luck with "The Return of Jezebel James" - named after a children's book heroine invented by the sisters - if she'd made it into an hourlong dramedy like "Gilmore Girls." Then she might have been able to flesh out the characters and dump the laugh track. Then, maybe, "Jezebel James" might really have had a chance to return.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:53 AM   #8
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I caught about 10 minutes

I think I like these actresses better in dramas
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Here's a review that I read today, he says it's a flop

By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / March 14, 2008

As Claire on "Six Feet Under," Lauren Ambrose stole many a scene with her low-key, mordant style. She was the depressed artist who could be so humorously underwhelmed by people. Ambrose's Claire embodied the show's blackly comic outlook so perfectly that, in the series finale, the story lines all came down to her point of view.

The Return of Jezebel James

Starring: Parker Posey, Lauren Ambrose,

Scott Cohen

On: Fox, Channel 25

Time: Tonight, 8-8:30 and 8:30-9

With her soft deadpan and her renegade vibe, the red-haired actress doesn't belong within a mile of a laugh track. And yet tonight, on the new Fox sitcom "The Return of Jezebel James," Ambrose has a laugh track practically sitting on her shoulder blasting its cackles out to the world. Like her "Jezebel" costar, indie-film regular Parker Posey, she is supposed to be a full-fledged Fox laugh riot. And guess what. She isn't. The show, which premieres tonight at 8 on Channel 25, is a full-fledged Fox flop.

Posey, so adept at being both ironic and sympathetic, is no better off in this unfunny mire. She plays a high-powered publishing-house editor named Sarah, who is so hyped up she seems in desperate need of medication. Posey plays her with all the subtlety of a vaudeville comic, using lots of antibiotic hand cream so we'll know she's neurotic. In this "Odd Couple" tale, she's the Felix.

Why does Sarah talk so fast? The show was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who made rapid speech into a sweet bond between mother and daughter on "Gilmore Girls." In "Jezebel," the breakneck speed is charmless, and it only makes the characters harder to believe. After watching Posey here, I admired "Gilmore" stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel all the more for their ability to remain human through all the words they had to spout.

Although she looks absolutely nothing like Posey, Ambrose plays Sarah's estranged, underachieving sister, Coco. Coco is a messy cynic who wears an Army green jacket and resents Sarah's success. When Sarah learns she can't conceive children, she contacts Coco. "I need your uterus," is what she says. What she means is that she wants Coco to carry a fetus for her. Why would Coco say yes? Why would she jettison her deeply held pride and move in with her judgmental sister to help Sarah have it all? For no good reason other than that the show must go on for seven episodes, which is all that Fox has ordered of this mess.

Sherman-Palladino might have had better luck with "The Return of Jezebel James" - named after a children's book heroine invented by the sisters - if she'd made it into an hourlong dramedy like "Gilmore Girls." Then she might have been able to flesh out the characters and dump the laugh track. Then, maybe, "Jezebel James" might really have had a chance to return.
I agree with basically everything in this article. My main thought througout the premiere was "God why is Parker Posey so annoying?!" I'm sure I've seen her act before, but I can't recall any performances offhand, so this is really my first exposure. Her character is extremely annoying. Part of it is certainly the writing, but it seems to come over mostly as over-acting. It's not impossible to do over-eager and neurotic without making it ridiculous, Courtney Cox proved that on Friends.

I thought Lauren Ambrose was perfect, and I loved her on Six Feet Under, I also loved the actors playing the parents, and the assistant (not so keen on the sex-buddy though, as he seemed poorly written) but the show needs help. The first step would be killing off that horrible laugh track. Audiences are smart enough to tell when a joke has been made, we don't need canned laughter to tell us.
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