2006-08-02 - TV Pilot Review: ABC's NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY
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NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY
ABC Thursdays, 8:30 PM
Well, NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY wasn't at all what I was expecting. I deliberately went into this one blind--sometimes, knowing too much about a show can color my opinion before I even see it (I feel safe predicting that "John Lithgow" + "sitcom" = "crap" even though I've yet to watch 20 GOOD YEARS, and despite me liking co-star Jeffrey Tambor). So all I knew about this one was that it was 22 minutes long.
Sure, that time means "sitcom," which equals "crap" 85% of the time, but with that title, well, maybe it would be 22 minutes of a seedy crime story. "Underbelly" and all, you know? Maybe?
Nah. It was NINE MONTHS for the sitcom set.
Now, stating this right up front, I'll never watch this show. I couldn't. They used words like "tummy time" and "onesy," words I never thought I'd know, let alone utter. I'm living this show (well, I'm in season 2...), which is actually about some thirty-somethings dealing with a first pregnancy. So while I'd never want to watch a show that details real-world experiences I've had, that doesn't mean it was bad. It was far less annoying than I expected it to be, because "pregnancy" + "sitcom" equals "crap" far more often than even a laffer starring John Lithgow. So while it was decent enough, and the actors weren't very "sitcom-y" (see: John Lithgow), still, this show will immediately cross off 50% of its audience as soon as guys learn that the "underbelly" of the title has nothing to do with seedy, crime-ridden parts of town.
The pilot was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld with a more comic touch than he ever brought to the MEN IN BLACK movies, and the leads, Peter Cambor and Jennifer Westfeldt, as I say, were decent and not grating. So anyone who wants to watch a sitcom about people having a baby and dealing with all their friends' misguided advice or contempt, here you go. Me, I'm looking for something a bit more out of my immediate realm of experience.*
*Not to mention the show airs opposite the actual best sitcom on TV, THE OFFICE. But it's not bad, anyway.