Less Than Perfect (2002–2006)

TV Series  -   -  Comedy
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Huge egos. Backbiting assistants. Screaming deadlines. Claudia "Claude" Casey has moved up in the secretarial world of television news, from permanent floater to the anchor's desk. It's a ... See full summary »

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Title: Less Than Perfect (2002–2006)

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Unknown   2006   2005   2004   2003   2002  
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Claude Casey (81 episodes, 2002-2006)
...
 Kipp Steadman (81 episodes, 2002-2006)
...
 Lydia Weston (81 episodes, 2002-2006)
...
 Owen Kronsky (81 episodes, 2002-2006)
...
 Ramona Platt (80 episodes, 2002-2006)
...
 Will Butler (65 episodes, 2002-2005)
...
 Carl Monari (60 episodes, 2003-2006)
...
 Jeb Denton (49 episodes, 2003-2006)
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Storyline

Huge egos. Backbiting assistants. Screaming deadlines. Claudia "Claude" Casey has moved up in the secretarial world of television news, from permanent floater to the anchor's desk. It's a short elevator ride from the depths of the mailroom to the executive summit, but still the ice queen assistants give her a chilly reception. Now, can this perky former temp's warmth and humanity melt the hearts of the competitive up-and-comers? Written by Christy Varner <cavarner21@pennswoods.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's got dreams of moving up. And she won't let the snobs keep her down. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

1 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Como la vida misma  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Owen: Now this really steams my broccoli.
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Connections

Referenced in The TV Set (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Well written and good ensemble, but has increasingly cheated on it's premise
3 June 2004 | by (www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com) – See all my reviews

Network: ABC; Genre: sitcom/office comedy; Content Rating: TV-PG (adult content); Classification: contemporary (star range: 1 – 4);

Season Reviewed: series (2+ seasons)

From it's great ensemble to it's sparkling witty dialogue to a lush look and office comedy set that actually looks like it plans to be around for awhile, 'Less Than Perfect' was the best and most promising new sitcom of the limp 2002 TV season. A season that could go down as one of the worst on record without exaggeration. As it moves into it's 2nd and now 3rd seasons it starts to cheat it's original concept and the laughs come fewer and far between, but even so this is still one show that knows how to be a good sitcom.

From the outset 'Perfect' had something different. Not quite a cookie-cutter series, it has some effort and a real vision put into it. In the beginning we follow Claude Casey (introducing Sara Rue, practically perfect in the role) an average girl who is given the opportunity to advance from her friends on the 4th floor (Andy Dick, in usual vogue mode, and Sherri Shepard) and take a fulltime secretarial position for anchorman Will Butler (perennial lifetime movie villain Eric Roberts) on the prestigious 22nd floor. Claude must contend with the 22nd floor snobs and it's there where we find the best part of this ensemble. Introducing Zachary Levi (who sounds like he graduated from the Ryan Reynolds school of acting) in what should be the show's breakout character, Kipp and Andrea Parker as Lydia. Both are hysterically funny with Levi giving Kipp a complex and intriguing undercurrent and Parker (aside from being about as hot as the surface of the sun) getting to show off an amazing comic talent you'd never know she had from 'The Pretender'. It's in the moments where Kipp and Lydia are dispensing some great 1-liners (the show can really write them) and riffing on each other and everyone around them, that 'Less than Perfect' succeeds at being the kind of bombastic ensemble comedy that hasn't been prevalent since 'Newsradio'.

But the show doesn't have the focus or confidence to keep it up and later starts overcompensating by throwing new characters on top of the already sizeable ensemble. Carl (Will Sasso, 'Mad TV') sticks out like an obnoxious hangnail you just wish would go away. Patrick Warburton, the hardest working guy on TV (Dave's World, Seinfeld, Newsradio, Family Guy, The Tick), is always funny, but his presence only reminds me of how many times he was brought on board to liven up a show in it's dying years. With the additions, 'Perfect' strains to juggle all the characters and real talents like Levi, Parker and Dick get jutted to the side of the stage. Now they either only show up to make a wise-crack or the episode will give everybody a little story made up of a scene or two and none of it comes to any sort of head at the end.

In the shuffle, the edges of the best characters have all been ground down. Zipp and Lydia in particular are now reduced to miserable, pathetic beggars, while Claude and her friends are elevated to enviable status, often needed to help them out their snobby brethren. The show has concocted a phony backward world in this regard trumpeting the lives of it's leads and make fun of Lydia's materialism as if it wasn't already trampled ground. Its previous sharp class warfare comedy has gone out the door for more familiar sitcom fair.

But worst has been what the show has done to Claude. I just don't believe the character anymore. When the show began creator Terri Minsky was quoted saying that 'Less than Perfect' would be like the anti-'Friends'. That it would be (paraphrasing here) about regular, working class people, where Claude is like a female 'Drew Carey' (my description) because, as she asked: Does anyone actually believe the situations that Jennifer Aniston gets into each week. Well, it's high time somebody said it. Problem is, a Rachael Green character is exactly what Claude has become. Now, everybody loves Claude (and not in the ironic vein of 'Everybody Loves Raymond') and her character has lost all touch with the ground. Then again, what can you expect from the creator of 'Lizzie McGuire', another show so star-enamored it tries desperately to make it's attractive lead seem "average" to the viewers, all the while putting her in one unbelievable situation after another.

Sara Rue is probably too cute for the role, but the show could just as easily ignore that or play up Claude's funny-loser qualities. But instead Claude now wears high-class designer outfits and ends up juggling men mid-way through the first season – one of them being that year's 'Bachelor' who gives Claude a rose to win her over in a bit of shameless ABC cross-promotion. I am Jack's raging bile duct. 'Perfect' is as close to proof as it comes that we are never going to have a "funny female loser" character on TV. No matter how average or put-upon the show sets her up, everyone will fall in love with her in the end. It must be tough.

But even with these reservations, the acting and writing on this show is better than good. And it's funny. That along with my hope that it can even itself out, makes it worth a recommendation. If only the show had the guts to stick with its original concept it could have really been something to write home about.

* * ½


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