Cancel my Side Order of Life, please
Good gravy, that was bad.
After being rather impressed with Army Wives, I thought the next original offering from Lifetime, Side Order of Life, would offer something just as engaging and worthwhile, but instead I was given a full hour of cookie-cutter characters, lame dialogue and a plot I've already seen in about eight million other TV shows, movies and books.
The first episode focuses on Jenny (Marisa Coughlan), a photographer for a magazine called InPerson who's planning for her wedding (Jason Priestly plays her fiance, Ian) and running in all sorts of directions at once. When she finds out her friend, Vivy (Diana-Maria Riva) has cancer, she suddenly realizes that she can't control the universe and might need to take a few detours to truly be happy.
Jenny begins to get signs from all over: a photograph she takes of someone reveals a broken heart inside, the Hollywood sign morphs into a kind of mystical teleprompter that gives her advice on how to break the news to her fiance that she wants to postpone the wedding, and, most cloying of all, a wrong number she dials turns out to be some stranger who just happens to tell her all the right things.
I can deal with the idea that Jenny is getting all kinds of signals from the universe, but a series in which everyone Jenny meets, friend or stranger, imparts sage wisdom to her like some Chinese guru resting high atop a mountain grows tiresome really quickly. I could even forgive this if the dialogue wasn't so pat and the episode didn't feel like a self-help book come to life.
One nice thing I can say about the series is that all the actors, especially Coughlan, play their parts well, I just wish they had more to work with than this.