Friday, October 28, 2005

Catching up with "Out of Practice"

From Media Life:
"Both Winkler (“Happy Days,” “Arrested Development”) and Channing (“The West Wing”) have appeared in good shows before, as has castmember Christopher Gorham (“Popular”). It’s almost as though the producers thought that having assembled this impressive array of talent, their job was done. They don’t give the cast anything to work with.

Unfortunately, that leads good actors to bad acting. Channing raises her eyebrows so high with each line she delivers that her face seems stuck in a look of permanent surprise. Winkler is so laid back that at times he seems to have dozed off.

The show has a great timeslot, leading out of “Two and a Half Men,” and that show's momentum has powered “Practice” to become the second-highest-rated new comedy of the season with a 4.0 18-49 average through four outings. Yet the show is only keeping 78 percent of “Men’s” audience among 18-49s.

That's not a good sign. Another not-good sign is that CBS has given full-season renewals or additional script commitments to three of its other five new shows but not to “Practice.” It’s possible that come midseason CBS will use the 9:30 p.m. Monday timeslot to launch Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ sitcom “Old Christine,” a show with better prospects for retaining "Men's" audience. "

TV Squad:
"...Stockard Channing has apparently gone nuts. Damn it, I love her and just about everything she's ever been in, but I have to relay just how awful she is in this. She has this horribly plastered look on her face that looks like she's been pumped full of botox but got none of the benefits. That's not a slam on her looks. hate when pretty older ladies suddenly have porcelain smooth skin and we're not supposed to notice, and we certainly know Stockard has the range to show emotions. But good lord, that's just embarassing."

Detroit Free Press:
"Some things you just can't explain. Like my giggly affection for this occasionally creaky, old-fashioned laugh track sitcom about a family of squabbling doctors headed by bickering divorced physicians Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing. It's not hip, it's not cool, it's not original or even very clever."

"In its first three episodes, this has been a happy surprise. It is a traditional comedy with punch lines designed for a studio audience, but it also is well done. In part that's because it offers two generations of fine actors."

"The fledgling show got off to a slow start last month. The pilot came off as a typical laugh-track sitcom that not even the big-ticket actors could rescue from caricature and cliché. But pilots are for setting up basic premises, introducing characters, and taking care of other necessary business. While the ultimate goal is to generate a buzz and secure the show’s success, it’s a rare sitcom that dazzles right off the starting line.

But the second and third episodes of Out of Practice show clear improvement. The groundwork has been laid and everyone can get on with the business of providing entertainment. And it’s proving to be a well-written show with strong performances and some clever lines. It even has its moments where the viewer’s own laughter coincides with the canned variety provided."

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