Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Suckered In By The Cute Guy/Kookie Woman Combo Again - Valentine and Easy Money - 2008 Fall TV Pilot Reviews

Valentine - Pilot - Ep. 101 - Series Premiere - Airs on The CW/City on Sundays at 8pm
Easy Money - DNA - Ep. 101 - Series Premiere - Airs on The CW/City on Sundays at 9pm

The CW shows that aren't really CW shows since they apparently "sold" Sunday slots to the highest bidder... so I really don't get how it all works but it's the shows The CW seems to forget and most viewers probably will too.

And while they aren't first priority viewing shows, or maybe even second, both were not as bad as I suspected them to be.

Well, actually, to be frank, I watched because I'm totally shallow and both shows stars a cute actor I tend to like (Jeff Hephner (above, The OC) in Easy Money, Kris Polaha (Miss Guided) in Valentine) who co-star with great female character actresses (Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) in Easy Money and Autumn Reeser (The OC) in Valentine). And dangit, the cute guy/kookie girl combo suckered me into both mediocre shows. Actually, bad shows that are elevated to entertainingly bad by the duos of Hephner and Metcalf on Easy Money and Reeser and Polaha on Valentine.

Valentine, about a bunch of love gods trying to unite destined lovers, is a cute and cheesy show that feels a bit cheap and syndicated but it'll probably do until Cupid comes on at least. There are a lot of laughable parts (where I'm guessing it wasn't supposed to be), a strong female lead (Jaime Murray) who feels completely at odds with the breeziness of Reeser and Polaha and the show as a whole, and everyone seems to have arrows or some magic power that brings the show to a Saturday afternoon Xena without the lesbian or comic-geek feel, but again, the always adorable Polaha and the under-respected Reeser are enough to keep the show afloat, for now.

Again, it's not a great show but there's an inherent cosiness to it. Essentially comfort food TV. It's not good for you and it's not even that good but sometimes you just need a big helping. And again, Autumn Reeser rocks and Polaha is just so darned cute. Even with the (unnecessarily) messy hair.

Easy Money still has that cheap look, this time a bit more of an indie low budget movie than syndication, probably because no one has magic powers, but the show fairs a teeny tiny bit better. Maybe it's because they keep trying to sell the show as "from a producer of The Sopranos" to make it feel deeper.

All they really have to do is keep showing lead Jeff Hephner's mug. It's the perfect plain handsome next door white guy look and he's got the bland likable white guy demeanor to play against the always kookie Laurie Metcalf. Who gets to use a drawl and highlight her hair a bright red on this show.

The show follows quick cash money lenders run by matriarch Laurie Metcalf while son Jeff Hephner turns on his smarts, and sometime muscle to collect on their loans, just as new competitors move into town. There's a timeliness to the whole money issue, sometimes accentuated by speeches that seem to spell out the whole show's philosophy but in the end, the show has a tacky feel to it that balances ill-timed comedic bits with a tiny bit of action and some family drama (the son may not be her son after all) and throwing a bit of potential romance (with Marsha Thomason (Las Vegas)) and yet, the duo of Metcalf and Hephner is fun enough to watch. Perfect on a Sunday afternoon when it's raining.

Valentine gets ** (2 stars out of 5)
Easy Money gets **1/2 (2.5 stars out of 5).

Both aren't great but there's something intrinsically entertaining enough on a slow laundry day that I didn't expect. You may be laughing at the show, but you're laughing! And again, at least there are cute boys to watch in the meantime.

The cast of Valentine:
Jaime Murray:

Kristopher Polaha:

Autumn Reeser:

Robert Baker:

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