10 Items Or Less -- an early look
The label on the advance DVD copy of the new TBS sitcom 10 Items Or Less has the network's catch phrase on it: "Very Funny." I should sue them for false advertising. They should at least put a little asterisk next to it and a note at the bottom that says "Results may vary" or "Funny not included."
What is this show about? It's about 20 minutes too long (thank you folks, I'm here all week! Ba-ding bang!). Actually, it's about a guy who moves back to his Ohio hometown after his dad dies and takes over the family supermarket business. That's a great set up for a comedy, with a lot of areas for comedy, and I was really, really looking forward to this, but to quote Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda, "Disappointed!"
John Lehr plays Leslie Pool, the man who moves back to take charge of Greens & Grains. He not only has to deal with the WACKY set of characters that work there, he also has to deal with a competing supermarket chain that wants to buy the store and turn it into another parking lot for their place down the street. The woman playing the exec from the chain is Jennifer Elise Cox, who you might recognize as Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch movies.
This show has a similar look and rhythm to Lovespring International (and, to a much lesser extent, I think they're going for an Office vibe). It's just not that funny (yet), and everything is so forced. They're trying to be WACKY characters, and that almost never works. And I have to say something here about Lehr. He created the show, too, and I'm not sure why he's playing the character the way he is. You not only don't feel any sympathy for him, but the character seems, um, criminally insane.
You know what it seems like? It seems like the premise (and execution) of a Saturday Night Live sketch. The ones they show around 12:30 or so.
There are exactly two funny lines in the first episode. They're having a staff meeting, and Leslie says to Carl, "Carl, you're looking away from me, why don't you share?" If you've ever been in one of those mind-numbing and uncomfortable meetings at work where you have to talk about your feelings or what you're "really" thinking (and we all have), you'll understand. The other line is, "You're just jealous that a bunch of people won't lie to you about your dead father."
The show is just so-so on so so many levels. But I'm going to give it a another chance, because you can't judge a show on one episode and this could get a lot better. I mean, it has to. (And in all fairness, the second episode, about a stain on the wall in the ice cream section that looks like Jesus, is a lot better than the pilot).
10 Items Or Less premieres on TBS November 27 at 11pm.