[07/12/05 - 12:00 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Freddie" (ABC)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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With the official start of the 2005-06 season less than two months away, the drumbeats have begun by the networks to tout their new comedies and dramas. What should you keep your eye out for? What should you avoid at all costs? While it's still a little early for full reviews (some recasting and reshooting will be done on a good chunk of them), we thought we'd spend the next month previewing what's in store for the upcoming season. Each day we'll look at two of the 47 new series set to premiere this season and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot.

There's no particular order here, just whatever's next on the stack of tapes. So without further ado, here's today's entries:

(Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c this fall)

The network's description: "Four women to every man are great odds when you're a single guy out on the town, but not ideal when it comes to your living situation. Freddie is a young, successful chef with his own restaurant, a stylish bachelor pad and a trust fund baby for a best friend. The world should be Freddie�s oyster at this stage in life, but bachelorhood isn�t working out exactly as he envisioned. Freddie loved growing up in a house full of women. He loved the energy of everyone running around, loved cooking for them all, but now he's finally realizing why his father used to lock himself in the bathroom just for some peace and quiet. Still, Freddie believes family always comes first, which is why he insisted his sister, sister-in-law, niece and grandmother come live with him after his brother passed away. Slowly but surely they are taking over his domain, and voicing their many opinions about his love life. Freddie will have to learn to balance his role as provider, brother, grandson, and uncle, all while trying to enjoy what should be his swinging single days."

What did they leave out: Megyn Price ("Grounded for Life") plays Freddie's sister-in-law in the pilot although it appears (based on her lack of credit in the current PR) that role is being recast.

The plot in a nutshell: Freddie (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is a successful, womanizing chef in Chicago whose life is quickly being taken over by his female relatives. There's his med student sister Sofia (Jacqueline Obradors) and her 13-year-old daughter Zoey (Chloe Suazo) who have recently moved in with him following her divorce; his sister-in-law Allison (Megyn Price), a former ad executive still recovering from her husband's death; and Freddie's mom (Jenny Gago) who refuses to speak anything but Spanish (with English subtitles) and has also recently moved in with Freddie. That leaves Freddie's slacker best-friend (and neighbor) Chris (Brian Green) as his only male outlet. The main thrust of the plot then is that Freddie reallllly wants to go out with an attractive co-worker but his sister/mother/sister-in-law/etc. get in the way of him having a good time (i.e. not approving of him dating a co-worker, blackmailing him into watching Zoey, etc.). From there it all plays out how you'd expect in typical sitcom fashion.

What works: Ummmm....

What doesn't: The show doesn't do a very good job of establishing why everyone is living with Freddie as only brief allusions are made to Sofia's divorce and the death of Freddie's brother. For such hefty topics it comes across as rather odd that they only get mentioned in passing. But first and foremost, as is often the case, there's just not a lot of laughs to be had here. Oh no, Freddie can't get laid! Look how he'll pawn off Zoey on irresponsible Chris who's idea of babysitting is teaching her online poker! I wonder if he'll learn a valuable life lesson when Sofia busts him! Like I said, the laughs are few and far between.

The challenges ahead: Is this really the best lead-in for "Lost" at 9:00/8:00c? And for those that do watch, will you want to turn back to ABC after viewing it? We'll know for sure this fall on ABC.

  [july 2005]  


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