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TV Tonight: The Return of Jezebel James

It hurts me so much to write this post, because the fact is, The Return of Jezebel James should be my new favorite TV show. It stars Parker Posey, one of my favorite actresses of all time, alongside Lauren Ambrose, who absolutely stole my heart as Claire Fisher on Six Feet Under. It has an intriguing plot: The sister who has her life together (Posey) can't have children, so she asks her screwed-up younger sister (Ambrose) to carry a child for her. And the whole thing is created and written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who made her mark with Gilmore Girls.

So it hurts me, truly, to say that I didn't like The Return of Jezebel James. When I talked to Amy Sherman-Palladino at the TCA press tour last summer, she said she wanted Jezebel to be a return to her sitcom roots, when she was a writer on Roseanne. But Sherman-Palladino's quick and witty dialogue just doesn't seem to lend itself well to a show with a laugh track. Both Posey and Ambrose — but especially Posey — feel too big for the very two-dimensional world of Jezebel. And, maybe worst of all, the two don't quite have a believable chemistry as sisters. That last part, I believe, would come with time — but, given the show's other problems and the fact that Fox has already cut its order to seven episodes and socked it into a killer Friday night time slot, I'm not sure the actresses will ever have that chance.

It's possible my expectations were just too high. Maybe I'm being too hard on poor Jezebel; maybe it is a return to the days of Roseanne (or, as Posey suggested, Family Ties) and nothing more. But I wanted more, and Jezebel just didn't deliver for me. Still have faith? The show's first two episodes air tonight starting at 8 p.m. EDT and PDT. To watch a preview, just


Photo courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
marcella marcella 9 years
i tivoed it because of my love for parker posey. i only lasted 7 minutes. the laugh track was just awful. i couldn't stand it! poor parker.
malzie89 malzie89 9 years
i thought i writing was great(it's AS-P, so of course it is) but idk..i love parker but she wasnt so great..she wasnt sarcastic enough or something..i keep thinking how much better lauren graham would be as sarah..oh how i miss gilmore girls..
Francesca-Fiore Francesca-Fiore 9 years
Oh wow... I wanted to love this so bad. I think it could potentially grow into a great show, but it's never going to get the chance, and it will be remembered as a failure.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
Watching it now.. it's not terrible, but I think it kinda throws the premise at you really fast. It would be better, I think, if it were just a show about sisters trying to re-discover each other without the 'have my baby' thing tossed in.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i feel your pain, Buzz. why do they bother making the show if they don't give it a good slot and really work to it's strengths?
littlemissme littlemissme 9 years
Too bad :( Love Parker Posey.
sauterhead sauterhead 9 years
This hurts me. I love them both, but it looks almost fake. Not to mention a small screen version of Baby Mama with sisters. I'll watch the first episode, but I feel like it will make me cringe.
ehadams ehadams 9 years
I have a hard time seeing them as sisters somehow...
kaenai kaenai 9 years
This actually looks like it could be good, given time. Parker Posey is an excellent actress, as is Lauren Ambrose, and I really believe they could make this work. Hopefully this won't get cancelled before they have a chance to show us what they are capable of.
dannysf dannysf 9 years
oh sad, it looks kind-of funny. :(
details2 details2 9 years
Yeah, I watched the clips on the fox website. Yuck! I love Parker Posey (Broken English, Waiting for Guffman, etc) and Lauren Ambrose (Can't Hardly Wait and Six Feet Under) But the laugh track is horrible!!! These actresses are done a disservice by it. Go the Gilmore Girls or even Arrested Development style route - where the subtle comedy - that has no need for a laugh track. This is not an Everybody Loves Raymond or even a Friends type cast or subject matter. I'm disappointed because Amy Sherman-Palladino is such an amazing writer! And yeah, Friday nights are the kiss of death.
laneylaney laneylaney 9 years
The time slot says it all. Friday night comedy.... that's a sign of bad things to come.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
As a die hard Gilmore Girls and Six Feet Under fan, I've already set my TiVo's season pass. It's a bummer to hear that all that talent just doesn't add up, but thanks for the honesty. I've lowered my expectations a bit and hopefully it'll grow into something worth being renewed by the end of it's 7 episodes.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
I can feel your pain, Buzz. I, too, had high hopes for this show, especially with Lauren Ambrose as one of the stars. Thanks for the honest review; I've lowered my expectations and probably will catch tonight's episodes, but the show seems doomed from the start in that Friday night time slot. Too bad.
ur_momm ur_momm 9 years
the clips didnt really strike me as something i would want to watch. but im just not a huge sitcome lover. it has to be REALLY good for me to watch all the time. so the clips kinda seemed very "Meh!" to me. too bad because i LOVED roseanne and i loved Claire in 6 feet under (and Can't Hardly Wait!) I probably wont watch this show. too bad.
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