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Trust Me: Before and After (series premiere)

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 26th 2009 11:01PM
Trust Me(S01E01) Have you ever had one of those shows that you wanted to truly love, because you've always liked the stars and you're into the premise of the show, but you end up only liking it? That's how it is with me and Trust Me.

Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty good show. An entertaining hour. But it's also an hour that is filled with so many obvious flaws that can't be overlooked.

First off, as I said in my early look a few weeks ago, I'm not sure how likable these characters are supposed to be, especially Tom Cavanagh's character Conner (oddly, no last name, not even on his office door), the single, creative, wacky part of the advertising team (Eric McCormack's Mason is the responsible, married creative director part). You sort of want to tackle Conner and tell him to smarten up. The shenanigans aren't endearing, they're annoying, and the best parts of Conner are when he calms down and gets serious.

A lot of people will compare this show to Mad Men. Not only is it unfair, it's inaccurate. As if we can't have more than one advertising show on TV. But since they both do center around the world of advertising, the way that they deal with that aspect can at least be compared. Trust Me leans towards the this-business-is-sure-crazy, this-idea-was-stolen, these-people-sure-are-funky type of depiction; Mad Men is going for something deeper. Neither is necessarily the right approach, they're two different shows. I think that some of the strongest parts of Trust Me are the insider-ish looks at home someone gets (or steals) an idea, how they deal with clients, and all that.

Another part of the show that doesn't quite work? The way the other workers at the ad agency bounce off of each other. The new girl, Sarah, just comes across as ambitious and flaky (a weird combo), the boss (an over the top, miscast Jason O'Mara) is nasty, and the other members of the team aren't fully formed yet.

Prediction: you'll watch this first episode and want to love it too, but you won't be able to go quite that far. I wanted to wrap my arms around this show and embrace it from the get-go, but right now I just in like with it. And Conner's idea for the cell phone campaign tag line is kinda ridiculous. I mean, come on, "What can you do with one hand?" The focus groups are actually kinda right on that one in the second ep. Weird that Mason and Conner didn't think of what the line could mean.

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Put me in the camp of those who really wanted to love this show and ended up only liking it. Several points have already been made that definitely stand out - weak character definition and development, tepid storyline, etc. The one thing I cannot believe no one has commented on yet is how dreadful the EDITING was on this show! I realize that most likely the creators of this show were trying to reproduce the hectic office atmosphere by chopping bits of the scene together every two seconds or so but PLEASE! Do it in one or two scenes for no more than twenty or thirty seconds but don't do it for the whole freaking show!!! All those quick cuts only made me dizzy and made each scene much more difficult to watch. I can wait for plot development, I can even wait for character definition. What I cannot tolerate is poor cinematography or production. If anything makes me drop this show like a hot potato, it will be the latter, not the former.

Better luck next week!

January 30 2009 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I read a few places that compared this show to Studio 60 and the writing to Sorkin's, so I watched. I'd like my time back please. There was nothing redeeming about this mess.

January 28 2009 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to segsig's comment

The writing wasn't Sorkinesque, but I will say that the two leads do hearken back to the friendships Sorkin has written. More S2 Dan and Casey, though.

January 28 2009 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone recognize what kind of phone that McCormick's character was using?

January 28 2009 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allison Solow

I liked it more than you, Bob, but I agree that I wanted to like it more. The scenes of them creating were reminiscent of the old Dick Van Dyke Show. I would have liked more of that and less of Conner running out on the team. I thought his scene at the funeral, though, was terrific. I didn't buy Mason's saving the day at the meeting; that should have been more amazing. However, at the end of the day, I liked the show enough to tune in and give it another episode or two. It has promise. That's more than I could say about My Own Worst Enemy, for example.

January 27 2009 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was expecting O'Maras performance to be terrible (from what the previous article on the show said,) and I actually his to be the best of the bunch. I judge a actor on if I can believe them in the role, and I did. I also previously thought his acting was OK after being addicted to Life on Mars and his horrible guest spot on Grey's Anatomy. But he seemed to be a lot better in this short cameo role.

Over all I thought the show showed promise, but isnt exactly working in its current form. But it was only the pilot so I am hoping later on that it gets better. I still only seem Eric as Will Truman and not seeing his family (or really even hearing about them) didnt help

January 27 2009 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the key thing is that this is a very insider-y look at advertising agencies. I have worked for Jason O'Mara's character, seen him meltdown, and watched the client meeting at the end happen. People in advertising are wacky, crazy, flaky, ambitious, have poor social skills and get away with murder. The speech about how clients are supposed to fear you is really true - that's the relationship that's cultivated. After 15 years in advertising, I squirmed a lot watching this.

January 27 2009 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You make some good points. I think I liked it a little bit more than you did, though. I didn't find Connor all that annoying. I actually found him a little more refreshing considering how Mason was stuck in his very own Shakespearean drama of trying to be the creative director yet not while trying to be a brother yet not. It was a little too dramatic for the circumstances.

As for Potter, I'm not yet decided on her yet. I feel like if she was such a big shot, there'd be a much bigger deal around her starting. Other people would have known she was coming and been more intimidated, even if she didn't have a partner and flunked her first presentation. I'm curious to see where she goes.

January 27 2009 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Courtney's comment

And by "brother," I did mean that in the figurative sense, considering that we're assuming a brotherly friendship based on Connor's speech.

January 27 2009 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think I'd rather be a Class-A Moron than a Class-A Jackass, but that's just me.

January 27 2009 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dorv's comment

Aw come on Dorv, you know I'm right. Comparing these two shows just because they are about advertising is really shallow and superficial.

If Aryeh can call people stupid for watching Gilmore Girls I can call anybody who compares two shows which are this different except they tell stories about advertising stupid too.

I could have expressed it differently but I really think any person working in advertising today who's worked back in the sixties would call you insane if you started comparing the two. They both have four wheels, a gas tank and a windshield but you would never have them race against each other. Comparing them is just... sorry I really think it's idiotic.

And again, this wasn't directed at Bob. He wrote about the fact that most of the leads on Mad Men weren't well known before the show. That's another way Trust Me differs from Mad Men. I really think that these shows are totally different and should be judged by other means than comparing them to Mad Men. I think Trust Me should be judged by plot development, acting, production value, camera work and other things and maybe at some point, when it's been around for one or two seasons, we can compare it to Mad Men.

I simply find it unfair to do so right now.

January 27 2009 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I see your point, but the comparisons are going to happen anyways.

Granted, I don't watch Mad Men, but it seems to me that the show is more about being a period piece than it is about an advertising agency. Trust Me (I hope) will be more of a buddy cop (to generalize) set at an ad agency.

So, basically I agree with you, but I was just poking fun.

And Aryeh doesn't like Gilmore Girls? For Shame...

Ok, it was way to sappy for me ever to be able to sit through a full season of it, but the writing was amazing.

January 27 2009 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Only a moron will compare this to "Mad Men".

It's like comparing the Model T with a Dodge Viper or Mannix with Miami Vice. If you do you could also say they can be compared because they are both on TV.

They are set almost 50 years apart. It's ridiculous to compare the advertising world of the sixties with thousands of newspapers, hundreds of radio stations and THREE tv networks with the Internet age of advertising, satellite dishes and declining newspaper markets.

Again, anybody who'd compare the two is a class-a moron.

January 27 2009 at 7:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it's a badly written Pilot. The problem is they barely sold the relationships while at the same time presenting characters that were WAY too quick to sell each other out. Even the supposed "best friends" were willing to flush each other's careers down the toilet until the very last minute. Add that to the new girl trying to go back to her old agency and all the characters obvious dislike for each other and you start to have a problem.

On that point, I find it hard to like characters when the whole first episode is dedicated to telling us what crappy people they are. I mean, we started out with the old creative director hating Mason. Then the boss explained why he hated the old creative director (and disliked Conner and his old partner). Then Mason attacked Conner and Conner attacked Mason. Then we had the new girl go back to her old office and had her old boss attack her. Plus everyone took constant pot shots at the two "comic relief" guys.

Basically the whole story stunk. I'm still going to watch next week but right now this show is surviving almost entirely on the acting talent.

January 27 2009 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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