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Jack & Bobby (2004)
Brilliant and strangely deep
Jack & Bobby is a strange drama in that it is original without seeming so. Two brothers grow up under the gaze of their brilliant, breakable, over-controlling, liberal-professor mom, and one of them becomes president. Weird concept, unlikely to work. But the real shock of J&B is: it does. The actors are one of the main reasons. Lahti is out of this world as a woman who desperately needs to be loved, but won't let it come to her. Lerman and Long, both fairly new, bring their characters to life wonderfully. Slattey is pleasantly wry as a father who has lost his wife and must now raise his children. Pare and Hodge add as well, and Cooper gives a surprisingly deep performance that proves strangely real.
The plots are good too. Yeah, it's bothering that week after week, we have to see poor Grace "learn" her lesson, and be humbled, but it's TV: no one would watch if an intelligent person wasn't forced to be put down contantly. Another good moment features her affair with a TA, which comes off, not as a fling, but rather as a ripping, surprising romance. The boys too add their own mix. Teenager Jack is pretty stereotypical, but he's still real, and while overly good Bobby is a bit too good, he still comes off as sweet and impressionable.
My only hope is that the WB learns to appreciate what a gem they have. This one's a keeper, guys.