As the first original single-camera comedy from
Classic multi-camera, live-audience comedies have been the network's small stock in trade since it began making its own scripted programming, with
Bold stylistic advance into the 1990s notwithstanding, much about it feels familiar. As a person who has come down in the world to work in a bar, Jennifer is Shelley Long in
Though described as "terrifying," Jennifer is on balance, conciliatory and compromising, which makes the show feel undecided, divided against itself. Given the setup, there is something almost timorous about what follows, as if sharp corners had been padded and points tipped with rubber.
Jennifer doesn't like working in a bar, but she doesn't not like it all that much. If anything, the point seems to be not only that you can go home again, but that you should.
Conflicts dissolve into air: "Can't we just go back to the way things were?" Jennifer asks her estranged best friend (
It might just be a matter of knowing one's audience; TV Land is not all milk and cookies — its own shows are more vodka and crudités — but it is adventurous only in casting actors other networks might consider unprofitably middle-aged.
It's a fine cast, and one wishes they had something a little more focused to do, something a little less predictable, something that wove the isolated good moments into a consistent whole. Perhaps, post-pilot, they will.
Pressly throws her whole body into the part;
Pressly's best exchanges are with Walter, playing a warmer variation on the self-involved, difficult mothers she played on
"You're not listening to me," says Jennifer. "I said, 'No.'"
"Give me one good reason why not," says her mother.
"Because you don't listen to me."
"You see, you can't."
When: 10:30 p.m. Wednesday