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July 29, 2014

Unhitched -- An early look

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 14th 2008 10:45AM

The cast of FOX's new comedy 'Unhitched'

When it comes to new comedies, the FOX network's record hasn't been very glowing as of late. Yes, the Sunday night animated comedies still bring in the audience, and Arrested Development brought critical acclaim, and Back to You and Til' Death are decent, if not outstanding, sitcoms. But, what else has the network brought to the table recently? Anyone remember The Loop, Happy Hour, Freeride, Kitchen Confidential or Stacked? Of course not; hence, the sad track record FOX has had bringing funny to its network.

So, when I received a review copy of the new romantic comedy Unhitched, my stomach did a bit of a flip-flop: another show that would probably disappear during the reign of American Idol and only be remembered as a notation in Wikipedia. Then, I watched the two episodes that came on the DVD. Surprisingly, I didn't roll my eyes at the opening credits (yes, actual opening credits) and was able to finish both installments without emitting a single groan. Turns out, I actually enjoyed the show.

Unhitched, which premieres on Sunday, March 2nd at 9:30 pm, has a few things going for it that make it watchable, including Executive Producers Peter and Bobby Farrelly -- collectively known and The Farrelly Brothers. Yes, the same guys that gave us Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, and Stuck on You. No, there aren't any Siamese twins in the show (yet), but the comedy definitely has their stamp on it, as you will see if you watch the pilot episode. I won't go into to many details but the first five minutes deals with Silverbacks, some shagging, and an apparently homosexual monkey with an overactive sex drive.

After the show gets that out of its system it really focuses on the romantic foibles of four friends in their 30's who are out of long-term relationships and looking for love. And, that's another thing that the show has going for it--a more mature look at love and romance. Maybe that's why it appealed to me more than a show that features 20-somethings who are looking for love in all the wrong places. The characters in Unhitched have been there-done that already and are basically starting over from scratch.

The third thing going for the show is its star Craig Bierko, who plays Jack "Gator" Gately. Now, when Craig was on Boston Legal last season I wasn't his biggest fan. Frankly, I thought he had too much swagger, too much piss and vinegar, for his own good. On Unhitched, Bierko is more down-to-earth and at home with his character. You can see that his heart was broken by his former wife and all he wants to do is find the same magic that he had with her so long ago. And, if it means hitting some bumps along the way, so be it.

The supporting cast that surrounds Bierko's Gator is a bit stereotypical, but they have enough extra dimension to them to make you care for who they are. Johnny Sneed plays Tommy, who is the womanizer of the group. He has all of the traits that you would find in womanizers on any other comedy program. Still, after three marriages you can tell that it all hides the feeling that he hasn't found the right person to spend his life with. Shaun Majumder is Dr. Freddy Sahgal. Freddy has some of the standard traits you would find in a foreign character who comes to America to capture the dream but, like Tommy, he has a certain quality to him that makes him quite likable and makes you root for him to find someone.

Then there's Rashida Jones as Elaine. Actually, she plays Kate, the only female in the quartet, but her performance reminded me very much of Elaine Benes of Seinfeld fame. Out of the four I liked Jones' character the least. It's not that she wasn't good...it's more like she wasn't utilized very well in the first two episodes. In the pilot, she dates someone shorter than her who turns out to be a mascot for the Boston Celtics, and the whole plot totally dies. I think I need to see more of her to get a better feeling for the character.

Unhitched has been done before, but what show hasn't? While the premise may be dusty, it's the characters that can bring it to life again and make it interesting. And, while it isn't the next Seinfeld, it is entertaining enough to watch on a late Sunday evening when nothing else is on.

Will you be watching 'Unhitched'?
I am looking forward to this new show.72 (31.4%)
I'll give it a shot, but I don't quite know what to expect.131 (57.2%)
I'll be passing on this show. I've seen it before.26 (11.4%)

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Kerry Kerstetter

Nice preview review. What would be nice to know is whether this has a laugh track or not. I am willing to give the shows that don't use canned laughter a try, while completely avoiding those that use it.

February 16 2008 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Back To You is "decent, if not outstanding?" I turned it off halfway through the second episode.

I miss The Loop.

February 15 2008 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

Shaun Majumder has always used his Indian character as a consistent side joke, less as a funny character in and of itself than a joke about his skin colour portraying him as East Indian when he's really Stone Cold Newfoundlander. Its hilarious to see that the stereotypical bit is what got him the part. Good thing he spent all that time portraying Raj Binder the sweaty East Indian journalist.

Here's an example of Shaun's work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-yD97fMjW8

February 15 2008 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Argus's comment
keithnl

Too True man, of course the ultimate stereotype was seeing him play a terrorist on 24, which was especially hilarious for those that know him primarily from canada.

I love Shauns work and as a fellow Newfoundlander heres a clip of him portraying a bit of a stereotypical Newfie, although Cyril the grave digger is certainly "unique"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50o4FkNi6-k

February 15 2008 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Galley

It stars Rashida Jones? Count me in!

February 14 2008 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Galley's comment
jordancda

Me frigging too! I need me some more Karen...err...I mean Kate.

February 17 2008 at 4:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick R

I'm surprised to see Shaun Majumder in the mix. He's been a fairly prominent personality in Canadian tv for several years now. Good to see him getting some attention away from home.

February 14 2008 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BillS

Hey, the Loop and Kitchen Confidential were both pretty good!

February 14 2008 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gudlyf

I saw the pilot screener for this last year and didn't care for it then. For some reason, after seeing it again along with the 2nd episode, I think this show will be a hit.

Personally I thought the mascot joke was pretty damn funny, but maybe that's because I'm a Boston boy.

Small-world fact (and which has nothing to do with my opinion of the show), the creators -- Mike Bernier and Chris Pappas -- graduated from Algonquin HS with my wife (there's even a joke or two in the show that reference Algonquin and people from their graduating class).

February 14 2008 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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