[08/03/05 - 12:00 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Emily's Reasons Why Not" (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:

(Mondays at 9:30/8:30c at midseason)

The network's description: "Emily Sanders is a successful young woman with terrific taste, great friends and a fabulous job in publishing. She didn�t get to this place in life by accident. She worked hard and always followed a set of self-imposed guidelines referred to as the �Reasons.� Reasons why not to take that new job offer, reasons why not to tell a vacation fling to look you up if he�s ever in Los Angeles, reasons why not to trust your crafty, back-stabbing former assistant, Glitter Cho. However, when Emily crosses professional lines and gets involved with the roguishly handsome, two-timing author of their new bestseller, there�s no denying that somewhere along the way her internal GPS system crashed. She�s got to get back on track, and once again be heedful of the trustworthy reasons that help her navigate her way through life."

What did they leave out: If you like "Jake In Progress," you'll definitely dig this show as it will no doubt fit perfectly with its "Jake" lead-in.

The plot in a nutshell: Emily Sanders (Heather Graham) is a successful self-help book editor who, like all romantic comedy leads, is having trouble finding the "one." Despite living by her "Reasons Why Not," she can't help but keep getting entangled with losers, cheaters and the like. Her current beau (an amusingly sleazy Mark Valley) is a serial cheater, but he's also the author of her latest project. In the meantime, she's caught the eye of the new guy in marketing (apologies as I didn't recognize the actor). And like all new guys, he's got three strikes (or reasons) before she bails on him. Not surprisingly the strikes (or reasons) quickly pile up - he's an over-the-top metrosexual, only wants to cuddle instead of have sex and participates in the "gayest form of martial arts" according to her best friends (Nadia Dajani, Khary Payton). Even worse is that Emily's rival Glitter (Smith Cho, channeling Lucy Liu) has her sights set on him, not to mention continually opens her wounds from Mark Valley's character. Fed up, Emily (literally) calls out his potential gayness, resulting in the expected "misunderstanding" about said "reasons" (which I won't spoil here). When all is said and done, Emily finds herself once single and struggling with her "reasons why not."

What works: Graham is her usual breezy, enjoyable self and it's obvious she can carry show. Like "Jake," "Emily" is a relatively quick and harmless half-hour that's more in the "decent way to spend a half-hour" category than the "outright hilarious half-hour" category.

What doesn't: The "reasons why not" hook gets nails on the chalkboard annoying, and quickly at that. There's literally four or five dozen references to "the reasons," as it almost seems like there's a secret contest to see how many they can fit in the show's 22 minutes. We get it: guys can't have more than three warning signs. No need to beat us over the head with it. That sort of redundancy definitely takes away from the show's charm, but not so much to write it off completely. Again, if you dig "Jake" - you'll find this show to be its near character-for-character, plot-for-plot counterpart.

The challenges ahead: How much of a chance does "Emily" really have considering it follows a nearly-canceled show that tentpoles a night that the network has had little to no scripted success on? Really how much? We'll know for sure on ABC come midseason.

  [august 2005]  


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