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November 27, 2014

Love Monkey: Nice Package

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 24th 2006 11:10PM

Love MonkeyA critic who reviewed this show said that there's nothing quite like it on television. I'd have to agree. It manages to be both a romantic, funny, likable, light comedy/drama and an edgier comedy with pointed barbs, quick and clever one-liners, and sharp pop culture/news references.

Is it like the moved Ed to New York City? Yeah, it actually is. Tom Cavanagh handles the Ed part (duh), it has the mix of comedy and drama, it has the pop/rock soundtrack, and Jason Priestly and Tom's sister even fill the Mike/Nancy roles (the marriage stuff, and he's even a doctor!). But it's just different enough too. 

Tom's first assignment for True Vinyl is to get a pop diva, Zoey, to sing at a benefit, but his old boss at Goliath (great seeing Eric Bogosian in a regular TV role) won't let her do it. Or, more accurately, she can sing at the benefit but won't let the song be recorded for the benefit album. Zoey stands up for herself with him and walks out. But she vanishes from her hotel room when Tom goes to see her.

He finally finds her, and she wants to sing something else ("My Inner Pain"), and not the big pop song "Kewl." But she's terrible, and the song is terrible. She gets mad at Tom and calls him another "suit" that just wants her to sing her pop song to sell albums. Tom comes up with the idea for her to sing the song, but with Teddy.

You know what else makes this show work? Really filming in New York City. You can't really fake a genuine NYC street in Hollywood. You can refer to the Radio City Music Hall, but you wouldn't be able to really show it and film there. You can show a real close-up of someone buying a pretzel in Times Square, with a fake New Yorkish looking building in back, but you can't actually film in Times Square, right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. Love Monkey does that. And that's another reason why it's unlike anything else on television. (Cool, subtle use of cameos by Ben Folds and LeeAnn Rimes too.)

Is the show perfect? No, not yet anyway. I wish they'd focus a little bit on the "single guy in the city" angle of Tom's life, the sadness, the introspection, and not just his "hanging around with the guys" goofy humor aspect. Also, when the show goes away from Tom and the music biz and focuses on the other characters for any length of time, it sorta drags.  And give Judy Greer more to do, whether she ends up Tom's love interest or not (good scene at the end with Julia meeting Bram, and both telling Tom he has chemistry with the other). But this is an entertaining, offbeat hour of television, and I hope it lasts a long time.

And by the way, he's totally right about Starship's "We Built This City."

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Johnny U.

I just read that the Love Monkey has been put on 'Hiatus' after just 3 episodes. I'm deeply disappointed as I really enjoyed watching it. Plus, I was looking forward to a glimpse of one of my favorite artists, Aimee Mann.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised. The program was a bit too intelligent for the "cyber-bubba's and trailer tarts", essentially, the masses. With all the self-humiliating reality shows, out there that get high rating, should we really be surprised that a program with an ounce of intelligence would be widely panned. Dancing/Skating with the Stars....think about the types of audiences that make up the US majority. With any luck, the program will be picked up by HBO where it can be even more edgy.

March 01 2006 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawn

I really like this show, btu I couldn't get over the fact that they obviously spend the time/money to film live in Times Square, and then drop the ball by showing stock footage (of Times Square) in the middle of the episode that is obviously a full decade old (What caught my eye was the billboard for "How to Suceed in Business Without Really Trying", which according to ibdb.com, closed in 1996). Sloppy.

January 25 2006 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SamMalone

Caught this show last night for the first time. I like it so far.
Can't wait for next week, there was some kind of hint that Paul from Letterman would be on, that sounds hilarious! Worldwide Pants (Letterman's production company) produced Ed, don't know if they do this show too. Also, more next week teasers should run before the last commercial break for us DVR-users.

January 25 2006 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
former records weasel

I have to disagree with anonymeese.

Bogosian is not aping Piven's "Entouragee" schtick. In fact, he's not even overacting. As someone who spent a year working at Island Records, Bogosian's character is clearly meant to be Lyor Cohen (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=lyor+cohen&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8). to that end, he's actually UNDERACTING.

Actual Lyor qoute: "Shannon, get Foxy Brown on da phone - re: her cah-rearah!"

January 25 2006 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

Oh, since everyone is busting my...I mean disputing my opinion that the Ben Folds/LeeAnn Rimes cameos were "subtle," what's the alternative? Would they have been more subtle if they were in the show longer? Would they have been more subtle if they got into a fight with another character or played a hit song at the concert at the end? I don't know, I think running into them on the street (which I'm sure actually does happen in NYC) is a rather subtle way to get stars in there.

And as for Tom using their names when he ran into them, that happens in ALL shows. TV isn't like real life, where you might say "hey, how are ya?" and that's it.

January 25 2006 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elizabeth

Yeah, the musical guests are way too obvious. It feels just like a random cameo that has nothing to do with the show. But Aimee Mann is on next week! Whoo hoo!

January 25 2006 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Folks, I know it's confusing because they talk so fast, but Julia is the co-worker and Bran (yes, it's Bran... I just checked on the CBS web site) is the "best friend."

By the way, Bob, I don't know how subtle those guest appearances were. "Ben Folds! What are you doing here?" "LeAnn Rimes! You coming to the concert?" If they were going to be truly subtle, Tom wouldn't have used their last names (he's supposed to know them reasonably well, right?), leaving the audience to figure out who they were.

January 25 2006 at 7:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
doc

Gah, Sherri Saum as a guest star. My TV mocks me with the delayed Beggars and Choosers DVD set.

Also, bonus point for using Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

January 25 2006 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

I disagree with the negative comments. I think the show is off to a good start. Unfortunately Cavanagh plays his same character from Ed, so I'm sure, eventually we'll see the actor going through some very similar plot arcs. On the other hand, fortunately, Cavanagh plays his same character from Ed.

I don't like the co-worker, however. Throwing Greer's character into a relationship early in the series run probably isn't the best idea (Though I love the theme of unrequited love becoming... er... requited), I don't like the paring with 'Bram.' You've gotta keep the two friends away from each other for a while, but the issue (read:woman) that separates them (at least this time) has got to have SOME chemistry with the lead.

January 25 2006 at 1:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anonymeese

I had this on tonight because I'm on the road DVR-less, and a Cavanagh fan. "Love Monkey" is a terrible show with an appropriately terrible title. Poor Tom is doing his best, but the plotlines are obvious, the punchlines are idiotic... The recapper thought the cameos were *subtle*?? Cool maybe, but not subtle. Bogosian overacts wildly but can't pull it off like Piven, whose schtick he's clearly aping. The co-worker's name is "Bram"? Is she supposed to have an accent or not? It varied from scene to scene. Axe of Cancellation, please swing quickly and mercilessly. The glorious exteriors of NYC don't deserve this crap!

Oh wait, I forgot Judy Greer was in this show, so it's not ALL bad. And "We Built This City" is indeed a classic!

January 25 2006 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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