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|Index||41 reviews in total|
"Friends" is like a great aging football dynasty. It had its glory, but now
its getting old and predictable. Good Morning Miami is one of the many
attempts for NBC to capture the glory of making good sitcoms. The show
started out terrible and could have easily been a 3 episode wonder, but NBC
came into the huddle and saved the day.
Constance Zimmer is one of the best characters I've seen on sitcoms. Although she's a bit lazy and smart alecky, she can definitely put anybody in his place. She is definitely more complicated and more human than some of these other assisants portrayed on other shows. She's funny, cute, smart, and knows more than you expect. She's the type of women that many men like. I just can't believe she's going with Gavin on the show. I wished that she dated Jake for more than one episode. I think they would have been and interesting couple. Jake really needs a challenge like her.
I like the additon of Tiffany Theissen and Jillian Barberie (she's everywhere like Kelly Ripa). I can almost bet Kelly Ripa will appear on one of the episodes.
This sitcom has alot of potential. As long has NBC pumps good ideas in the show, I think it will be successful.
Network: NBC; Genre: Sitcom; Content Rating: TV-14 (for language and
sexual content); Classification: contemporary (Star range: 1 - 4);
Season Reviewed: Complete series (2 seasons)
Good Morning, Miami' was not a great sitcom, it deserved every bit of the critical thrashing it got after the pilot episode aired. However, based on the turns it took and the results of the final few episodes in the first season, as well as several in the abbreviated 2nd, it looked like it was heading down the road to being quite good. And, despite some shameless unoriginal qualifications, it was quite funny. Which puts it a peg above most shows. It's a classic, now all too common, example of a network playing poker with a TV show due to behind-the-scenes politics and also the uselessness of TV critics who watch only the first few episodes of a series in the package they receive and don't update or follow up on the show as it changes.
The show was recklessly mismanaged and falsely advertised by NBC specifically Jeff Zucker (to name names) from the very beginning. 'Miami', the latest series from David Kohan and Max Mutchnick ('Will & Grace', the cult 'Boston Common'), was, from the look of it, shoved on the air a year before it was ready to make way for NBC's remake of 'Coupling' . 'Coupling' was the show Zucker expected to be greeted with rousing ovations and easily slide into the 'Friends' timeslot without missing a beat when that show left the air the next year. Despite this, it was Zucker who stood up at his press convention and loudly touted that 'Miami' was going to have a will-they-or-won't-they relationship "to even surpass Ross and Rachael" (much to the cheers of pre-teen girls everywhere I'm sure). So, 'Miami' was put out there and forced to iron out it's kinks while everyone watched. That pilot is bogged down in so much Don't Be Alone preaching from Suzanne Pleshette that I shouldn't have given the show a second look.
For those that don't know, it follows Jake Silver (Mark Feuerstein, 'Caroline in the City') a TV producer who moves to Miami to save the bottom-of-the-ratings challenged title morning show. Instead of ditching this uphill climb he decides to stick around, help the show and in the process try to win over show hairstylist Dylan (Ashley Williams), whom he supposedly falls for after she runs her hands through his hair in the first episode. I must admit a failing: Ashley Williams is just too searingly hot to ignore. In this case, her lack of real acting chops doesn't really matter. She is kept sparingly from us in the first season, left an open book for the viewer to fill in. She has the perfect cute-girl-next-door looks that make for a believable muse.
As I watched the show changed and improved before my eyes. I slowly began to not only take it off mute, but become engaged in it. Then it did something that most time-slot hit sitcoms never do it made me laugh. Genuine belly laughs. They canned their more obnoxious characters and eventually, it found a groove. The writing sharpened (as if it grabbed writers that just jumped ship from 'Futurama' at the time) and the cast became more comfortable. Despite NBC's relentless false advertising, the stories stayed away from the kind of relationship melodrama that makes 'Friends' so insufferable. The stories became more loosely constructed once the humorous dynamics in the cast where found and the show was more of a character comedy than a strict relationship series. Much of the credit for the show's success lies with the impeccable deadpan comic delivery of Constance Zimmer and Matt Letscher. These are pretty stock characters (calling back to 'Newsradio') but a great performance is still a great performance. When asked where his maid is, Letscher knows exactly how long to hold the pause while looking around at the junk piled up in his apartment before dryly responding "She's under here somewhere". Zimmer wins the Most Likely to Get Her Own Show award.
More changes where made in the re-tooled 2nd season. Another anchor babe was added, Suzanne Pleshette (a pistol of energy at the end of the first season) left for '8 Simple Rules' leaving a fun dynamic between her character and the otherwise annoying Jere Burns twisting in the wind. But mostly the show looked to be heading in the right direction. A villain (Tiffani Amber-Thessen) was wisely added. They raced out Jake and Dylan sleeping together in the season premiere to pop that bubble and shift the focus from relationship drama to free-wheeling jokes. Zimmer and Letscher remained the stars though. A story point in which Gavin gets hooked on coffee shop punch cards is Kramer-esquire - and I mean that in a good way.
This was a cute, stupidly funny pure sitcom with some high wattage talent behind it (veteran directors like James Burrows and David Trainer), It was worth a look and deserved a chance. After 'Coupling' flamed out Zucker should have realized the potential he had with it. Instead he used it as leverage after Kohen and Mutnick filed a breach of contract lawsuit against NBC. Like the innocent daughter of an action movie hero, 'Miami' had a gun pointed at it's head because of who it knew and where was. Without any input from the audience the show was cancelled. Just the fact that I kept up with all this is the biggest compliment. 'Miami' was the best in NBC's long recent roster of time-slot hits. Remember 'Caroline in the City', 'Veronica's Closet', 'Fired Up' or the wretched 'Suddenly Susan'? Exactly. This is the one relationship show I would have watched. A fluffy, light-weight, entertaining guilty pleasure. And Ashley Williams is adorable.
* * ½
I agree with a lot of people here, that the show's quality treads somewhere between as bad as the critics' say and pretty good. I think, essentially, the show has a lot in common with many other failed NBC sitcoms, Conrad Blooms, Stark Raving Mad, Jessee, Naked Truth, Working, etc. Characters are cliched, jokes too obvious sometimes, but it's not THAT bad, the chemistry between the characters and the writing is enough to keep us tuned into next episode. What also kept us tuned into season 1 was the whole Jake/Dylan thing, he liked her, and it was a good move to have them get together by season 2 cause while at times that suspense, was enough to keep us interested to see what happened, it couldn't have realistically gone on forever, like Daphne/Niles or any other long-running crushes. So that was a good move, another good move, was getting rid of the right characters and keeping the wrong ones, the latino Cuban host, the grandma, and the flying nun needed to go. The ones that stayed all add something to the show, Frank's Jere Burns has played a lead before, he's one-dimensional in his patheticness but it's improving, Penny's definitely likeable, Gavin's finding his niche, Mark Fuhrestein's not bad, and Dylan's pretty charming. I think, essentially, this is a show that's takena w hile to find it's footing, and I'm glad NBC kept it for a second season, cause it could very well take-off, it hasn't happened yet, but it could go int he right direction. Also, Jillian Barber's kind of fun, too.
I can't see how the creators expect this show to last more than half a
Good Morning, Miami is attempting to be a romantic comedy and a workplace ensemble comedy at the same time (the sideplot between Jake and his grandmother is actually pretty good, but it barely intersects with the rest of the show, so let's ignore it), but failing miserably at both.
First, as a romantic comedy, this is a subpar clone of the Ross/Rachel relationship from Friends. Jake, like Ross, is such a jackass it's embarassing to watch. Dylan, like Rachel, is completely undeserving of Jake's obsession (and Jake, like Ross, even knows this). Rachel is a walking haircut--with Dylan, this is even made explicit (not only is she a not-particularly-exceptional hairdresser for a living, but twice people have referred to her as "the haircut" in Jake's presence, with no objection from him).
In fact, as much of a buffoon as Gavin is, it's easier to root for him and Dylan. For a guy who's both as needy and as superficial as Gavin, Dylan is perfect. And, while the codependent validation that she gets from Gavin may not be healthy, it's at least a step up from what she'd get from a guy who's obsessed with her for no other reason than that she's teddy-bear cute.
Besides, once Jake and Dylan get together (as, the ads tell us, all of America is rooting for) after half a season, where can the show go? This isn't Sam and Diane, or Dave and Lisa--this isn't even Monica and Chandler. The romantic comedy plot pretty much ends when Jake gets his prize.
On to the ensemble workplace. In this case, the source is clearly News Radio. Jake is Dave, the young boss trying against all hope to do a decent job with a hopeless staff. Gavin is Bill, the pompous newsman who has no idea how pathetic he is. Frank is Matthew, the most incompetent and pathetic man on the planet. Penny is Beth, the weird, tough-but-ditzy secretary who never does any work but seems to be the only one who can understand the others' relationships. (Lucia and Sister Brenda are such ridiculous stereotypes they didn't have to be ripped off from anywhere.)
This kind of ensemble worked in News Radio because the writers were brilliant enough to make us relate to the characters even though they were ludicrous and unsympathetic. Will and Grace has followed the same path.
But Good Morning, Miami has made no attempt to take that road; instead, the writers seem to be already trying to "humanize" the characters to make them sympathetic (what a dying show of this type usually does in its last season), while at the same time playing them for one-off laughs.
More importantly, the relationships between the characters that News Radio, Will and Grace, and other shows successfully developed made their stereotyped characters funny for years. Without Karen's relationships with Jack and Grace, or Matthew's relationships with Bill and Joe, neither one of them would be worth watching by the end of the first season. While there's been a half-hearted attempt to show Frank and Sister Brenda interacting on the sidelines, there's no humor whatsoever there. Lucia and Sister Brenda were both played out by the third episode.
Sitcoms need a workable, believable premise. Ensembles need characters
some depth to play against the premise and each other. The combination of
elements leads to comedic combustibility. Well structured, well thought
sitcoms are like fireworks. They have a limited life, but as they explode,
they reveal layers of light, color and magic.
"Good Morning, Miami" is a firecracker. Pop, it's gone. In the first episode, a new producer arrives at a failing TV morning show as a candidate to turn it around. (Actually, he just wanted the free ride to Miami to visit his grandmother. He's taking another job.) He meets the show's hairdresser and falls in love. She doesn't know. She's with the male anchor, a recovered substance abuser who credits their relationship with turning around his life.
Okay, a good setup. A great comedic triangle. Except: there's no chemistry between the producer and the hairdresser. At all. His attempts to get her attention generate sympathy for the anchor, who is drawn as the villain vis-a-vis his dismissive attitude toward the producer. Sadly, there's not much more chemistry between the hairdresser and the anchor. (There is unexplored chemistry between the producer and the anchor, but that would be another show.)
The weakest link in the triangle is the hairdresser. There is no character there. She's nice. She's pretty. She's...? Now weeks into the series, we still know nothing substantive about her.
Other characters are broad caricatures of religious people (the weather nun), and Hispanic women (the female anchor). There are also two workers whose functions on the show-within-the-show are as unclear as their functions on the show proper.
The grandmother works, but then, she's been road tested. She's an aged version of Karen Walker from "Will & Grace". We don't see much of her except in some repartee with the grandson-producer. She's like a Greek chorus, commenting on the action but removed from it. Too bad.
Sometimes a show can turn around a few episodes past the pilot. This one has not. It has no idea what it wants to be past getting the designated romantic leads together (which is what every episode is about). It's a lesson that should have been learned from the one-note sitcom "Cursed", or the child who asks at the end of a fairy tale, "and then what happens."
The opening episode of this sitcom shows promise: the setting is
interesting (if a bit overused lately--see "Life With Bonnie") and the
characters seem appropriately "zany" for a successful ensemble show. I
the team of Kohan and Mutchnick who also brought us "Will and Grace" and
underrated "Boston Common." The cast is also good, even if Suzanne
Pleshette seems unlikely as Feuerstein's *grandmother.* The laugh
wasn't as high as one would like, but the romantic chemistry is
brings me to the first structural problem the show has. It's been
and promoted as a romantic comedy. If they intend to keep the focus on
one romantic pairing (Jake and Dylan), they're doomed to failure. Shows
centered primarily around the development of one romance ALWAYS fail;
the characters are in a stable relationship the show is dead, yet if you
keep them apart too long, the show is likewise dead. The romance must
coexist with other appealing elements and compelling characters.
"Good Morning Miami" doesn't look promising on either front. Jake himself is a nice enough fellow, intelligent and attractive, but perhaps a bit dull. This has been a problem with Feuerstein's previous series. I don't know if he has the charisma to be the lead, though he's been fine as a supporting player.
The other characters and the milieu of an ineptly produced morning television show reveals another problem. What is funny about it is also why it can't sustain a long-running sitcom. If Jake does his job well, he will either fire the other characters or eliminate the quirks that make them funny characters. If he fails at his job, he will be fired. Either way, "Good Morning Miami" is on borrowed time.
A very funny but misunderstood show. I really liked it because although
it had not so very funny supporting characters, it was carried on by
the 4 principal characters including the always sexy and funny
Constance Zimmer and the cute oh so spankable Ashley Williams.
The situations were naive but funny at some points and I was surprised to find some sex related jokes that dealt with double sense.
The humor was really good and although the series started very weak and focused on the lead character's life, as time passed, many other supporting characters had their wake up call like Frank Alfano who ended being one of the funniest characters.
Sadly, it couldn't become the next "Friends" because it started very slow and later gained the correct rhythm but it wasn't enough.
This show had a lot of potential but it was too late when it tried to wake up.
Ah, yes. The weather nun, the hispanic cariacture co-anchor and the dirty
old grandma weren't great... or perhaps even very good.
But they're gone now. So now does the show have a chance?
It's not what's on the show that's the problem now. It's what's not there. "Good Morning, Miami"'s current biggest problem is it's generic, bland and flavorless.
Is that the worst thing a comedy can be?
Mark Feuerstein (TV's "Loving" and "Caroline in the City" and the films "Woman on Top" and "What Women Want") as Jake is not terrible by any means, just bland and flat--like Feuerstein was in his first lead "Conrad Bloom."
Mark is at times, not interesting enough to hate. He's not awful, you don't feel irritation watching him---just indifference. He's effective and perfectly cast when he plays the too-young, too-wide-eyed, too-youthful, too-excited love interests ("Caroline in the City," "West Wing" and "Once and Again"), as well as sidekicks ("What Women Want" and "Woman on Top") and lawyers ("Rules of Engagement," "Muder by Media," "West Wing")--and he's very effective there, which explains why NBC continues to employ him.
But as a lead, he's stilted and uncharasmatic. He's charming and has some nice physically expressive comedic moments, but he doesn't have the tall stature or confidence to carry a whole show. Not a bad actor, just not a LEAD actor.
Ashley Williams (TV's "As the World Turns" and "Dawson's Creek") seems to suffer from the same problems. I love her personally, but her Dylan character just leaves me feeling heavy disinterest.
She smiles, delivers a scripted on-liner, but not much more. People clamored the adorable little girl charm Ashley gave the show (when she just smiled) but her character is window dressing and plot device. Becoming wise, stupid and smiling whenever the plot requires her to. All Ashley is allowed to bring to her character is a sweet grin.
No wonder the viewers (the few fans of the show) seem to clamor for Penny. Constance Zimmer ("Warm Blooded Killers" and TV's "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star"), well at least, she gets more to do and say as the lazy, worthless, dead-weight secretary is "WTF is that?!" clothing.
We've seen this character in almost every workplace sit-com ever made (TV's "Suddenly Susan," "NewsRadio," "The Larry Sanders Show," etc). Pretty much evey time a sit-com or sit-com-like movie sets foot in an office building, we'll run into one of these characters.
It's as if NBC was scraping the bottom of the bin and found all this stuff and just tried to assemble a show out of what was left.
That worked with Max & David when they put the magnificent "Will & Grace" together, but not here. Not at all. Not remotely.
"GMM" just takes the scrap cliches' and assembles them, never at any point making any kind of attempt to re-vitalize them. Were Max & David exhausted and/or too busy from "W&G"? Or did they just not care?
The Penny character, although as unoriginal as it gets, is at least able to give the show some much-needed life and color. I looked her up here on IMDb and read that she is one of the older cast-members on the show. She hasn't had a great deal of work and fame, sadly. "GMM" is her break-out. That's good. She's been waiting a while. Too long, I think. It's about time. She has her own fan-site now. She's waited long enough for it.
The foppish, boorish blowhard of an anchorman, well-played by Lecshter, also has some nice moments. As Gavin Stone, he's the very empitime of the conceited jack-ass. Leschter makes his character spew insulting banter and insults like a machine and smiles a phony grin like he's trying to sell you a used car on cylinder blocks.
When he butts heads with Jake, it's funny, but "GMM" never takes real advantage of that. Like a lot of it's promise and potential, it squanders it, taking the cheapest and easiest shots imaginable. Shooting itself in the foot and trying to jerk us back and forth like a arcade game joystick---without any real skill or style.
Instead of having the characters all tear into each other (which would be really funny and entertaining), they all just tear into Jake. They all push him over and steamroller over JUST him. While something like that COULD, once again, BE funny---it's not here because Jake is just too easy a target. He's a sitting duck. He's just a big push-over. It's funny to take away a character's dignity IF THEY HAVE IT. But if just no challenge, it's just NOT FUNNY. It's just bullying. And comes off as kind of cruel. Humilating Jake is basically just like shooting dead fish in a shotglass.
It might be funny to give Jake some more edge. Some more banter. More one-liners. More put-downs. He doesn't humiliate himself without a fight. Give him some dignity. That's why it's much funnier and better when Gavin and Penny get hoisted by thier you-know-whats. It's just more entertaining to watch all the air get let out.
What lurks benath Penny's nasty, hostile and badly-dressed surface? Who is the real Gavin? In-jokes about the secret of Frank's sexuality have existed since the beginning? What's there? There's so much potential for a great series and it jumps and dodges all the potential for a better show. Why?
The realtionships, the unrequited love, the workplace war-zone, the relationship between Jake & Penny? Frank's sexuality? And more. The opportunity is here for another gold-mine like "W&G." But it's unmined for some reason. Why?
Perhaps because with "W&G," Max & David were sriking it out on their won. They were making their mark. Now that they're at the top, they're afraid to rock the boat. Afraid to say something significant. Or maybe it's NBC that wants to play it safe?
The cast mostly seems ideal. I just wish they were all at the service of a show that's just better. "GMM" plays like all the left-over cliches' "W&G" didn't want to bother with. Is that the real problem? Lack of inspiration and imagination? Or nerve?
Or is "GMM" just too scared?
This took a decent enough premise for a sit-com and did... well, quite OK with it. It started out with too many regulars, though they cut the least interesting of them relatively fast, after almost immediately pushing them into the background. I doubt they were missed; they were entirely one-note, quirky caricatures, that I suppose sounded funny on paper. This got almost two full seasons, in spite of never really reaching greatness. With that said, there were many good jokes, and the main cast have nice comic timing. There are the usual crude ones, goofy ones, the occasional clever ones, etc. Dylan is cautiously underdeveloped, in order to keep her from being attractive to as much of the audience as possible. Williams does well enough at keeping her charming and sweet, if she does wind up giggling, smiling and such to the point of silliness. The material varies, but a lot of the "what goes on when the cameras are off" stuff isn't half bad. Zimmer is probably the best actor in this, and her performance as the snarky, cynical Penny is spot-on; she adds layers to the part, taking her beyond the usual superficial role(usually representing specific types) of this genre of TV show. Feuerstein is fine, he simply can't escape not having enough charisma to be the lead. There is mild language in this. I recommend this to any fan of those in it. 6/10
I like Ashley Williams, she isn't a bad actress. But let's be honest, she
really has no chemistry with this lead actor. The shows characters aren't
bad at all, in fact the back and forth sleaze to timid lead anchor
is quite good. And I think the show could find a nice niche if the
producers exploited the relationship between Jake and Penny. The dork and
the quirk, its typical sitcom fodder.
What's this show gonna do when WIlliams finally does get together with Jake. Honestly, there ain't much there. However, I think the Penny/Jake relationship has some backbone to it.
Time to let Ashley Williams walk and center the show around Penny/Jake...otherwise its gone by next year.
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