There’s nothing so ex as an axed dramady
SHOULD you have a summer fling? That’s the dilemma you face when an already-cancelled program shows up during a non-ratings period.
Obviously, the fact that the show has been axed isn’t a good sign. There’s also the risk it will end abruptly without a satisfactory resolution. But at least you have to commit for only 13 episodes, instead of signing up for years of treading water because the show is so successful it is prolonged far beyond its use-by date ( cough, Lost ).
With The Ex List , there’s even a conclusion of sorts. ‘‘ The scripts have been rewritten to give closure,’’ star Elizabeth Reaser said recently.
This is just as well, because I’d really like to see where it’s going. It’s far from perfect but is charming enough to be interesting.
Based on an Israeli series called Mythological X, The Ex List centres on Bella ( Reaser, familiar as the amnesiac Eva in Grey’s Anatomy ), who visits a psychic. The psychic tells her that if she doesn’t get married in a year, she never will. Luckily, the psychic continues, she has met the One already: he’s among the guys she’s dated. Cue a My Name is Earl - style revisiting of old flames, where Bella learns or teaches a lesson.
Although, apparently not the lesson that the One is obviously her last sweet but commitment-phobic boyfriend, with whom she shares custody of Rufus the dog.
The show delivers some great comic moments, particularly from Bella’s continued interaction with Marina the psychic, who in a cute running gag, is always eating when Bella goes to her shop. The unexpected ways in which Marina’s predictions come true are also amusing, even if nothing has matched the first episode where she predicted Rufus would end up dis-
Going down in old flames: Elizabeth Reaser stars in tressed around seaweed and water, which manifested itself as Bella’s sister drunkenly throwing up on him after eating sushi.
Speaking of family and friends, the dynamic of Bella’s friends living in adjacent apartment feels a little strange in a dramady — it’s as if they wandered accidentally on to the show from a sitcom clone of Friends — but their presence is not unwelcome.
That said, this episode, in which Bella discovers that the bad boy she dated at school is now a cop, is one of the weakest so far. He’s a fairly unpleasant character and his flaw looms large, so it’s hard to board Bella’s smitten bus.
In the US the show failed partly because of scheduling — it ran on a Friday night — but perhaps its short tenure is a blessing: with only 10 episodes to go, it’s unlikely to wear out its cutesy premise and you can end the summer feeling cheated of what it could have been instead of disappointed by what it had become.
The Ex List
Not being a worshipper at the altar of this incredibly popular motoring program, I tried to analyse its appeal via this episode. Essentially, two grumpy old men and one grumpy younger fellow look at the latest in automotive engineering, spar a little bit and present their results in front of a totally rabid studio audience. So why did the local version, also on SBS, limp off recently after ratings that would have killed a program on the commercial networks stone dead? I wish I knew. Perhaps we prefer exotically grumpy and foreign to local and pleasantly knowledgeable. In any case, Jeremy Clarkson, reigning monarch of motoring television, kicks things off with a question: can a car be art? Enter the Alfa Romeo 8C, pictured, arguably the best-looking car made. OK, now I’m It’s only episode three and the title is . No, it’s not about Roxy and Trevor, who in episode one got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. It’s more about Roland ( the show’s only army husband) and Joan, who has just returned from service in Afghanistan. And possibly Denise and her West Point-bound son ( or is he?) Jeremy, who has a chilling habit of thumping mummy. Sure there’s a froth of suds about , but you don’t commonly find soaps dealing realistically with war-related, post-traumatic stress disorder that blows up into full-blown psychosis, or ego-dystonic violence, as does tonight. Still summer’s most promising viewing.