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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:
TWINS (The WB)
(Fridays at 8:30/7:30c this fall)
The network's description: "Having explored the hilarious complexities of sexuality with the wildly successful �Will & Grace, � Emmy Award-winning producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick bring their unique take on contemporary relationships to The WB. This time, they're targeting societal stereotypes and perceptions of brains vs. beauty with a bitingly funny comedy about twin sisters. Mitchee (Sara Gilbert, �Roseanne�) has the intelligence and the determination of a successful businesswoman. Her twin sister Farrah (Molly Stanton, �Passions�) is a stunningly perfect lingerie model. Mitchee and Farrah are about to inherit their parents' undergarment business, which gained world-renown for form-fitting inventions that make every woman look and feel like a goddess. These anything-but-identical twins are true reflections of their parents. Mitchee takes after their father, Alan (Mark Linn-Baker, �Perfect Strangers�), a brilliant designer who built the company up from nothing, while Farrah is the image of their mother, Lee (Melanie Griffith, �Working Girl�), a beautiful former lingerie model who is not a deep thinker. There are loyal staff members, especially the flamboyant Neil (Chris Fitzgerald, �Personal Velocity�) and hot new marketing exec, Jordan (Steve Braun, �True Calling, � �Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle�), but with Mitchee and Farrah in charge, this business � and this family � are going to need a lot of, um, support."
What did they leave out: It's basically "Will & Grace" (i.e. characters just rip on each other for 30 minutes) with twin sisters instead of straight/gay pals.
The plot in a nutshell: Twin sisters Mitchee (Sara Gilbert) - the smart, shy one - and Farrah (Molly Stanton) - the ditsy, outgoing one - are about to inherit their parents' (Mark Linn-Baker, Melanie Griffith) successful undergarment business. While obviously different, the two actually work well together with Mitchee being the brain and Farrah being the body. But when they learn their parents intend to divorce (see, he's the smart, shy one and she's the ditsy, outgoing one) they opt to quit unless they try to work things out. I know it's not exactly "All the President's Men" but it works for what it is.
What works: If you like "Will & Grace," you'll find a lot to like about this show. As mentioned previously it's basically Mitchee rips on Farrah and Farrah rips on Mitchee (with the parents joining in every so often) for 30 minutes. The jokes hit just as often as they miss but in today's sitcom climate that's saying a lot.
What doesn't: The plot itself is way too telegraphed - everything from Mitchee's crush on a new marketing executive (Steven Braun, hmmm, I wonder who he'll confess to having a crush on instead?) to the whole "if you divorce we'll quit" angle might as well have their resolutions taped to the characters' foreheads to be less obvious. Nevertheless, there's quite a few amusing bits, some of which unfortunately get beat to death ("butt pucker" may be mildly funny once, but a half-dozen times?). Overall, it's the WB's most promising comedy newcomer in a while.
The challenges ahead: Can a WB sitcom on Friday nights really make a dent in the TV viewing audience? And if it does will it be any more than say "Reba," "What I Like About You" and/or "Living With Fran?" We'll find out this fall on the WB.