Okay, I’m way behind, but I’m playing catch-up.
The Jake Effect was run on Bravo, showing all six never-aired episodes of a sitcom to promote their BrilliantButCancelled.com website. And… it wasn’t quite brilliant. It was good, it was aggressive, but it also stumbled over itself at times. It starred Jason Bateman and Nikki Cox, and that was a combo that was attractive to me. Nikki had starred earlier in the sitcom Nikki, a surprisingly good sitcom that had no right being good. After all, it was a WB series about a wrestler and a Vegas showgirl, starring someone who looked like obvious eye candy who had come off of knock-off of Married With Children. Nothing about that phrase screams quality… but it worked quite well (better first season than second), due in no small part to the comedy chops of Ms. Cox.
Anyway, enough about that show. The Jake Effect was about a high-priced attorney who leaves that role to be a school teacher – a measure of goodness that justifies his mischieviousness on other fronts. Nikki plays the sexy teacher who is intended to be the long-term love interest. The style plays somewhere between Arrested Development and Malcolm in the Middle or My Name is Earl - cheeky, irreverent, not always following the expected path. All sounds good.
But the details miss at times, and Nikki as the sexy teacher is possibly the prime example of that failure. “Sexy teacher” is not a hard concept to play. We all had them. But the way she looked, it wasn’t as a sexy woman who happens to be your teacher, it was as a woman who was trying to be the sexy teacher, dressed and made up more like the Vegas showgirl on her day off than like a teacher. Now a showgirl is supposed to be intentionally seductive. A teacher is not, and going that route has some rather perverse overtones… which possibly could have worked in a dark comedic way had they done it intentionally. However, there was nothing in the script that suggested he was supposed to have that aspect. It was a mismatch. Attention to detail matters.
This series was still better than most of what makes it to air, and it could have found its way and rounded off those rough edges with time. It’s worth watching, if you have the chance. But its absence is not a tragedy.