Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.
So you've seen all of the new shows this fall - but what about the ones that didn't make the cut? For the next 30 days we're going to take a "first look" at a collection of 30 pilots that didn't land on the 2009-10 season schedule. Are there any gems that got passed over or are they all deservedly locked in the networks' vaults? Stay tuned.
LET IT GO (ABC)
(written by Alex Herschlag; directed by Barry Sonnenfeld; TRT: 21:19)
What is it? A single-camera comedy about a neurotic former talk show host who tries to get her life back.
Who was behind it?: Alex Herschlag ("Sit Down, Shut Up") wrote the pilot script, which was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld ("Pushing Daisies"). Tantamount's Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum and Mitch Hurwitz also served as executive producers.
The plot in a nutshell: Bridget O'Shea ("Gilmore Girls's" Lauren Graham) is on top of the world. Not only is she the host of a popular daytime talk show, she's also the best-selling author of "Let It Go: Live a Full Life and Enjoy a Healthy Relationship." You see Bridget believes all of life's problems can simply be solved by "letting go" of them. Your husband has a drug problem: let it go. You husband is cheating: let it go. Your husband is obsessed with his pig/dog hybrid: let it go. Much to everyone's surprise however - including her manager Marty (Jeffrey Tambor), assistant Lucy (Lucy Davis) and frequent guest Dr. Macy Day (Holly Robinson Peete, author of "It's Time to Get Angry") - she's going to hang it all up to move in with her world traveler/confirmed bachelor boyfriend Brian Kinkaid.
They all of course tell her she's nuts (Marty: "Once you leave [show business], you never come back: look at Regis Philbin.") but Bridget insists she's a relationship expert, how could it not work out? Cut to: it not working out. Weeks pass and Bridget is now a shut-in mess, eating increasingly more disgusting junk food and buying increasingly more useless infomercial items. But after catching a segment about India on "Live With Regis and Kelly" (Philbin himself appears in cameo), she decides to take a trip there for a spiritual makeover and sure enough she returns at peace with the world. Unfortunately for her it's been turned upside down in her absence: Brian is engaged to someone else and Macy has taken over her show, now dubbed "Get on Over It!"
Even worse, Brian's sent his nephew Chris (Josh Braaten), a reformed stoner, to track down his family's engagement ring (which everyone assumes Bridget stole). Bridget however has a plan: get Macy to let her come on the show and set the wheels in motion for her comeback. In the meantime she'll (along with unwitting accomplice Lucy) head over to Brian's and prove to everyone it's not possible he's fallen for someone else, even if it means breaking in to do so. They're of course interrupted by Chris and by the end of the madcappery (which includes everything from Bridget hiding under beds to Bridget admitting the whole going to India thing was a sham), Bridget realizes Brian was never going to settle down. Her head finally straight, Bridget's ready to get back everything she let go.
What works: It's as awe-inspiringly...
What doesn't: ...bad as it sounds. First and foremost, "Let It Go" manages to do the impossible - turn Lauren Graham into a selfish, narcissistic shrew. And of course nothing is more entertaining than seeing a selfish, narcissistic shrew scheme to get her old life back. Even if you set aside the character's lack of likability, the show never manages to sell that this person is reforming herself. Bridget's arc is essentially: too arrogant to believe she's making a mistake by quitting her job, too arrogant to believe she's not the one for Brian and too arrogant to believe that she's going to prove the former isn't true by breaking into Brian's house.
Her growth then theoretically comes when she finally realizes the obvious: Brian isn't built for committed, stay-at-home relationships. This then supposedly launches her into a new stage in life where she doesn't care about what people think anymore (her words, not mine)... that is until she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and sees what a mess she looks like thanks to the aforementioned madcappery. Say it with me: whaaaaa? Throw in some commentary about how ridiculous Bridget is behaving (Marty: "By the way when you break into a house, you never park in the driveway.") and an endless supply of if-we-play-this-something-wacky-must-be-happening-even-though-it-really-isn't music and you have as feeble of an example of comedy you can ask for.
The bottom line: It's too easy to glibly say "let it go" so how about: insert the "Price Is Right" fail sound here.