March 18, 2008

Cable Boxing: ‘The Return’ of Posey and Ambrose

The Return of Jezebel JamesEpisodes: “Pilot” & “Frankenstein Baby”FOX; Fridays at 8 p.m., aired March 14. Starring Parker Posey, Lauren Ambrose, Scott Cohen, Michael Arden and Dianne Wiest.Synopsis: Sarah, a single children’s book editor, reconnects with her slacker sister, Coco, in this half-hour comedy. Sarah wants to have a baby but is unable to conceive, so she asks younger sis Coco to carry her child. (tvguide.com)Mat: I liked this. Tightly written, funny, I didn’t lose interest once.Sara: Yes, it was pretty good for a Friday night sitcom. But how many people are actually watching television on a Friday night? I guess in this TiVo age, it doesn’t matter as long as you remember to set it.It’s being touted with the tagline: “From the creator of ‘Gilmore Girls.’” But I’m just happy to see Parker Posey land a good gig. And Lauren Ambrose has been missing since HBO buried “Six Feet Under” in 2005.Mat: Ah, Lauren Ambrose. My neurotic crush Claire has returned. Still neurotic, still hilarious. But she’s got nothing on Posey. Who knew she could kill on network television?Sara: Did you see her film “The Oh in Ohio” a few years back? Good stuff. I thought she did a great job here as the overanxious yuppie Sarah — who has everything going for her except a fully functioning uterus. Enter her estranged sister Coco (what’s up with that name?), whose oven, we assume, is self-cleaning.Mat: Your thoughts on the surrogate mother thing? Makes me glad I’m male.Sara: No thanks. I may love you, but I don’t looove you, if you know what I’m sayin’. Nine months of pain, vomiting and sobriety and you don’t even get to keep the prize at the end? Pass. I’m not even sure I fully bought her character’s desire to have a child. Seemed like once she found out she couldn’t get pregnant, she made it her mission to find a surrogate. I did enjoy the cartwheel gag, though. When the doctor tells Sarah she can’t conceive, she remembers cheerleading tryouts — they told her she couldn’t land a cartwheel, and she practiced until she finally could. So why should this not-having-a-baby thing be any different?Mat: Biology has a certain, shall we say, hold on willpower, though. I took gymnastics when I was a kid, and I am here to say that cartwheels are, in fact, a pain in the ass, back, arms and, well, I’m just out of shape …Dianne Wiest is enjoying a nice creative jag. “In Treatment” and now this. Her character’s voice couldn’t be more nails-on-a-chalkboard irritating, but that seems to be the point.Sara: Oh, yeah, the mom from “Footloose” is in this show! Bonus.Mat: Everybody cut, everybody cut.  Drop us a line at leo@leoweekly.com or check out our TV blog at cableboxing.blogspot.com