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 read more.
Photo courtesy of Fox