Thursday, September 9, 2010

Melissa and Joey

The titular Melissa and Joey, of course, are played by Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, two charming and likable actors who do their best to save this utterly charmless and unlikable show. It premiered a few weeks ago on the ABC Family Channel and, for some strange reason, my girlfriend Shannon and I keep on watching it. I suppose we watch it because we both had crushes on the stars back when we -- and they -- were younger (Melissa was my crush, Joey was hers, obviously) and enjoy seeing them again, but I sure wish they were in something better than this. But work's work, and it's nice to see them both making another go at it.

The premise is simple: It's just a rip-off of (sorry, homage to) Who's the Boss? Melissa is a career woman (city council woman, which seems like an odd career for a TV character who is supposed to be rich and glamorous. Have the writers of this show ever been to a city council meeting? But I digress.) with a male nanny / housekeeper who moves in to help to help out. Where Boss succeeded was in having such a ridiculous premise grounded by the likable performances of Tony Danza, Judith Light, and company. Melissa and Joey's characters, frankly, are loathsome and thoroughly off-putting. Also, while the repartee between Tony and Angela was fun and cute because we always knew they cared about one another and shared a mutual respect, admiration, and affection, Melissa and Joey are just snarky and annoying and have zero chemistry. Much of this has to do with the mediocre writing and terribly dialogue, but the bland performances don't really help to elevate the material.

And the supporting cast is even worse. On Who's the Boss? we had Mona, one of the most iconic sitcom characters of all time, while Melissa and Joey gives us, um, that annoying Asian girl with the obnoxious bangs. She's pretty (probably, under that awful, Peter Pan haircut)  and maybe even a decent actress who possesses decent comic timing, but her character is so poorly written and given so little to do, she just tends to suck the life out of any scene she's in. Given more time to grow, maybe the character would go somewhere, but she really needs to put down her clipboard and have some persona other than "Melissa's anal assistant." The two kids fair even worse, since they exist only to walk into the room in time to overhear some awkward, inappropriate comment from either Melissa or Joey, mug for the camera, and then walk back out of the scene. That is seriously all they ever do.

So, yeah, this show sucks. Ultimately, it fails because the characters range from being boring (the kids and the Asian chick) to being flat out unlikable (Melissa and Joey). Seriously, the two main character just seem like self-obsessed jerks. But I've still watched every episode. I'm not sure why I keep watching, but it's probably because the two stars have endeared themselves to me so much over the years. I grew up watching Blossom, Clarissa, and Sabrina so it's kind of nice to have these two back on TV again. I'm not saying I always enjoyed Blossom, Clarissa, and Sabrina -- just as I'm not saying I enjoy this new show -- but having them around is comforting, and even with the worst scripts they are both still likable and cute and sexy. But I sure wish they were better actors who could make bad scripts more funny.

1 comment:

Justin Garrett Blum said...

ha! I saw a commercial for this last night. I was wondering who would watch this show. Now I know--you!

I can't get over Joey Lawrence's skinhead look.