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Accidentally on Purpose: Pilot (series premiere)

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 21st 2009 9:02PM
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(S01E01) Watching Accidentally on Purpose, thoughts of Seth Rogen danced in my mind. Not Seth, actually, but the film Knocked Up. This is the second year in a row that CBS seems obsessed with that film. Last season, it was Worst Week, with a schlubby Kyle Bornheimer channeling Rogen's goofy lack of grace. It didn't work and Worst Week bit the dust. Now we have Jenna Elfman in the Katherine Heigl role, knocked up by accident after a one-night stand, albeit with a twist. Instead of a schlub, Jenna's fling is a boy-toy named Zach.

And there you have the premise of Accidentally on Purpose. Are you ROFL? Will you LOL? Read on after the jump.

There are only two things going for this new CBS sitcom, Jenna Elfman and Ashley Jensen. The latter continues to be a reliable Rhoda, a sidekick with the funniest lines in the pilot, delivered in her wry, Scottish accent that never fails to hit the mark. As for Jenna, Accidentally really relies too much the charm and appeal that made her a star with Dharma and Greg. In place of a solid foundation for a sitcom, Accidentally is all about situation and not enough about comedy. It's yada-yada-yada-punchline. You can set your watch by the one-liners. (Does anybody still need to set their watches?)

I don't have an aversion to traditional three-camera sitcoms; I love them when they're done right (Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, New Adventures of Old Christine). However, much of Accidentally isn't sharply written, it's indicated. Instead of a real job, Billie's a film critic at a San Francisco newspaper. It's 2009. Is there even a San Francisco newspaper still in circulation, let alone a film critic who's getting paid? This is like Ann Marie being an actress on That Girl. It sounds good, but there's nothing in her character that connects to the position. One repro poster of Gilda doesn't make her a movie buff. A real buff would have the actual, original poster!

But I quibble because Billie's job doesn't really matter. The pilot is all about her getting pregnant, deciding to have the kid and the other kid, boy toy Zach, kinda/sorta moving in. There's the set-up. Will they fall in love? Will they bond over her big belly? Will her ex-love, the editor of the paper, want her back and fight for her?

There should be the promise of amusing comedy in every new pilot, but this one feels tired and clichéd. Jenna Elfman could use a lot more of the zing Chuck Lorre brought to Dharma and Greg. Billie is no Dharma. And the motley crew of friends that come along with Zach are yet another shout out to Knocked Up. Using the urn with grandma's ashes as a water pipe may be the height of hilarity to some, but for me it was just gross.

Elfman can do better and has in the past. Accidentally on Purpose is an accident to be avoided.

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Ryan

I love this show! Definitely give it a chance. Check out this hilarious clip below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYL0ZI6wHWM

October 19 2009 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
totallytv

I actually thought the pilot wasn't too bad. Cougar Town seems much more promising though.

September 26 2009 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

I didn't like the idea of Big Bang moving to the time slot after Two & a Half Men either. But I work in the evenings on Mondays so when I get home, my tivo's got the Monday night line up waiting for me and I can see them in any order I choose (watched Big Bang first). Still haven't finished Accidentially on Purpose yet. Might take some time.

September 22 2009 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jessica

i didn't like it either, and i'm usually a fan of nearly all sitcoms. i agree with tom, above, wholeheartedly. and rules of engagement is much better! on another note, i'm not liking moving big bang theory to 9:30!

September 22 2009 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nacho

I made it through about 90 seconds of this mess before I hit stop and deleted it.

Better luck next time.

September 22 2009 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allison

Call me crazy, but I liked it. It wasn't hysterical, but I enjoyed the characters. The pilot wasn't much to judge on since it was all set-up, but I'm willing to give it another shot.

September 22 2009 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kellie

LOVED IT! Can't wait to see the next one!

September 22 2009 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Holly

I actually loved the pilot, but I have always enjoyed Jenna Elfman's characters. Billie is already growing on me. Not just another Cougar, I think this show is here to stay, at least until a baby is born!

September 22 2009 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristi

The 'Low points' are definitely are outweighing the 'High points', see my list.

http://www.orble.com/teevee-accidentally-on-purpose-ep1/

September 22 2009 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GrumpyOldMan

Can you smell the Scientology leaking through?

September 22 2009 at 8:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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