BOB PATTERSON carries the signs of being created by committee, with
a ton of people throwing in small ideas, set concepts, casting
concepts that they thought would be great, and ended up with a big
ol’ mess of bits but no grace.
That isn’t to say that the series has no workable central concept.
Bob Patterson is a man beset by life, in contrast with his career
as a motivational speaker. But he’s coming back to speaking
after some career stumbling, he’s faced with writer’s block, an
ex-wife who is acting more like an ex-ex, and the pressures
of various people who want a piece of him.
There are some talented folks here, and a couple of others.
A little shaking out, and they might have something workable.
However, apparently they already tried to fix this once. Placed
up against a weakened-yet-still-watchable Frasier, I expect this
doubtlessly-expensive production to have a short life.
Following the watchable Frasier is the new SCRUBS, a one-camera
sitcom about a new resident. In some ways, this is the flip side
of Bob Patterson; it’s not the problems of a person whose life
is falling apart, but those of someone who is trying to build a
life that he’s not prepared for. Done with a quick rhythm that
fits the intensity of its setting, filled with humor that comes
from exagerations of human emotions rather than ignoring them,
Scrubs is off to a strong start. This show won’t be for everyone;
for a sitcom, it has an incredibly high “squirm” factor, so
those who can’t sit through ER without flinching will have
some trouble here as well. But it is a strong entry, and
following Frasier, I expect it to be discovered by a fair
number of folks. (Although there are probably still many who
will switch over to Spin City, for some reason. Not that that
show was ever as good as ought have been, but with the the
grating Charlie Sheen character and the inexplicable casting
of Heather Locklear in a sitcom, the talented supporting cast
aren’t used enough to make this at all worthwhile. And what
is it with this show and female characters? There are at
least five female former “regulars” who have disappeared,
any one of whom showed more comedic chops in a single episode
than Heather will show in an entire season. Oy!)