Eastwick: Pilot (series premiere)
by Jane Boursaw, posted Sep 24th 2009 4:25AM
(S01E01) Is it bad that my favorite character on Eastwick is a supporting character? That would be the fabulous Sara Rue, who starred in Less Than Perfect from 2002 - 2006. I loved that show! She's done other stuff since then, but that's what I remember her for. in Eastwick, she plays the sideline character of Penny, a co-worker of Joanna's (Lindsay Price). Hopefully, Sara will get plenty of screen time.
Let's talk about the show. Eastwick is based on the John Updike book The Witches of Eastwick, which spawned the 1987 movie by the same name, starring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Of note is that Veronica Cartwright, who played Felicia Alden in the movie, is playing the part of Bun Waverly in this new series. There was also a 2002 TV movie starring Marcia Cross that perhaps had three or four viewers.
Eastwick is the small New England town where the series takes place. I really want to like this show (Mike liked it better than me), but the jury's still out. Part of the reason I want it to succeed is that my other favorite show with three women, Lipstick Jungle, got canceled too soon. Lindsay Price was in that show, and here she is again in this one, although playing a much different character. She's a dorky, awkward, shy reporter who wants to write more than horoscopes and top lists for the local newspaper.
The other two women are sexy artist Roxanne Torcoletti (Rebecca Romijn) and registered nurse Kat Gardener (Jaime Ray Newman), who's raising five kids and a loser husband who hangs around the house all day drinking beer.
It's clear that all three women are wanting something in their lives, and each has special talents. I guess they're witches. No one ever comes out and says that, although the people in their lives know there's definitely something amiss -- especially Kat's husband, who becomes the target of a mysterious hammock fall and lightning bolt when she gets frustrated with him. Kat also has the ability to grow endless supplies of tomatoes.She's the Earth Witch.
Meanwhile, Joanna can make people do things by staring at them (the Mind Control Witch), and Roxanne can foretell the future with her dreams (the Psychic Witch). Bringing them all together is Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross), who mysteriously appears in town after the three women make a wish in a fountain in the town square.
My problem with Darryl is that he doesn't seem to have any chemistry with any of the women, not even Roxanne, with whom it seems there might be a relationship brewing. He reminds me of a cross between Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island and the faceless Charlie on Charlie's Angels.
There were some other inconsistencies with the show, as well. When Roxanne's daughter Mia comes home from a date, Roxanne eagerly asks her daughter which base she got to with the guy. Not exactly mom material there. But later, when Mia's in danger of being raped by this guy, Roxanne and Darryl race to her rescue (as it should be).
I realize that Joanna is supposed to be a social misfit, but the awkward talk about her vibrator named "Will" was weird, especially when the guy she likes, Will, was standing right behind her.I guess it was supposed to be funny. The show's all over the place in terms of genre -- comedy, drama, fantasy, romance. Not that there's anything particular wrong with that. Drop the fantasy, and it reminds me a little of Desperate Housewives.
I can see how Eastwick might be fun, with the witch element and Darryl helping the women to (maybe) realize their dreams. The town historian/storyteller seems to think he's evil. I guess we'll find out in upcoming episodes.
[Watch clips of Eastwick on SlashControl.]