Worst Week -- An early look
by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 19th 2008 11:04AM
Sam Briggs is a schlemiel. Everything that can go wrong in his life, every dumb thing a guy can do while trying to do the right thing, happens to Sam.
The preview of Worst Week (premiering Monday at 9:30 PM ET on CBS) has not changed dramatically from this ready-to-go pilot. The premise is simply this: can a good guy like Sam overcome all the stupid things he does and find happiness with the girl he loves and her family that loathes him?
For the pilot, Worst Week works really well as broad farce. The situation of this situation comedy goes from bad to worse to worse still. It's funny. It's over the top. It's very, very outrageous. Whether or not they can sustain this level of silliness and maintain some semblance of believability week in and week out is the big question for Worst Week.
I'm willing to watch beyond the pilot, but at some point, they really need to address the question of reality because if you had a week like Sam does in just the pilot, nobody would want to know you.
It helps that Sam is played by Kyle Bornheimer, a cross between the young Bob Hope and Seth Rogan. He's charming and cute in a schlubby way, but it does strain credibility (there's that sticking point again) that he's won the heart of gorgeous Mel (Errin Hayes). Of course, you could say the say about Raymond and Debra (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Doug and Carrie (The King of Queens), so perhaps it's just part of CBS comedy tradition. Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show) as Mel's judgmental dad Dick, who is a judge, does a great slow burn and it's very much on display here.
Worst Week is based on a British comedy (The Worst Week of My Life) where it lasted three seasons. In UK terms, that's just 17 episodes. For American TV, Worst Week will need to log at least 22 episodes for one year alone. I'm sure creator Matt Tarses has already plotted things out and has stories for this year and next, if it's a hit. Considering that the show is going to be broadcast in the cushy spot between Two and a Half Men and CSI: Miami, it has every chance to succeed. My guess is that we'll know by Christmas time whether Worst Week is CBS's next big comedy staple or soon-to-be replaced by a waiting-in-the-wings Rules of Engagement.