Suddenly Susan (1996–2000)
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For example, I just watched a rerun of one: the subplot is about the photographer taking pictures of Nana in order for Shields to present a portrait to her grandfather. Predictably, the photographs are far more racy than Shields expects. The main plot is about Griffin's jealousy over Shields' "sudden" success as a star player on Griffin's basketball team - the jealousy spills over into jealousy of Shields' beauty (and she responds that no one has life easy, being so tall, etc.). The plot has NOTHING to do with the subplot. They could have been put in different episodes - that's not very good writing.
For me, the reason for watching the program is to watch Brooke Shields -whose graciousness, modesty and essential sweetness come through in all she's done as an adult. (I was too old to be a fan in her "Endless Summer", "Blue Lagoon" days). More than any other actress, she has that Mary Tyler Moore character's humility, that eagerness to please. I would expect that she is always one of the most diligent actresses in any project.
When someone so beautiful is also so obviously this lovely seeming a person, one's in danger of losing one's heart. That's why I watched this fairly weak program. Shields deserves better writers - and she's really born to be a movie star, not one on television.
When it comes to sitcoms I'm pretty easy to please. I don't necessarily have to find something funny every episode. Sometimes the characters and the chemistry of the cast is enough. Suddenly Susan has none of that. Even the absense of that might not be enough to make me change channels. What I cannot forgive is whenever a sitcom lays in an uproarious laugh track almost literally every 5 seconds for lines and facial expressions that don't even seem intentionally funny. If a show truly has the goods I'll figure it out for myself. I don't need the help of a sound editor.
Actually, I haven't even seen the first episode of SS and though I don't think that's very important, the first episode is a guideline to what the show will become, even if it's something completely different (eg. the Seinfeld Chronicles). Brooke Shields has become famous for being a pretty face more than anything and her attempt at doing comedy is a bit "iffy". Judd Nelson has played in comedies before but playing a nice guy doesn't suit him very well, especially someone who is a total introvert when it comes to women. So what saved this show was the supporting players like Kathy Griffin and David Strickland.
The story of David Strickland is the most fascinating aspect of the show. If you saw the E! True Hollywood Story you pretty much know how he died but the fascinating part is the way you could see him deteriorate on the show. He started out as the one with the quick lip and slowly become a ghost like creature in the background.
As for Kathy Griffin, she is too much like Peggy Bundy in a way, that I don't really find her funny but I admire her for being able to make a completely ass of herself time and time again and just shrug it off as being just another day at work.
The many cast changes I didn't mind that much, except when the eternal guest star Rob Estes found his way to the show. Why is it that in shows that have women in the foreground must make every male character look like buffoons. It happened here and essentially every hit women's show like Ellen and to a lesser extent Friend's because it's not really a women's show as much as a teenage girl show. So to put it mildly when even Eric Idle can be transformed into a raving simpleton you know what you are in for.
So to repeat what I said at the beginning these may not be the right words to describe SS but is how I feel. Take it or leave it.
I think there are people who just hate Brooke Shields and, as a result, will hate anything that she is in. The actors were talented, funny people who made their characters come alive. I've never been a Brooke Shields fan, but I think this show actually worked for her. She didn't have to be the center comic, but rather a constant victim of comedy.
I do think that the absence of David Strickland and Judd Nelson caused the show to die. I stopped watching at that point because I liked that group of actors/characters. That's the problem with formula sitcom; it cannot stand up on its own because the actors and characters carry the show. Even the actors were limited because of its formula foundation. Three's Company was the same setup, but even less to enjoy. It's amazing how long Three's Company lasted. Consider that Law & Order is story driven, not character driven, and therefore Law & Order can go on in spite of actors leaving the series. The characters in Law & Order simply set the stage for the story rather than the story setting the stage for the characters. Good Morning Vietnam is a reasonable balance between story and characters.
In fact the show could have been stronger from the start by recasting Brooke Shields for someone who had a bit of comic timing or could say... act.
The show collapsed at the end of season 3 with the unfortunate suicide of David Strickland and it should have been left there, at its peak, released on DVD and left to be enjoyed.
Its the 4th series that just leaves a bad taste in the mouth, with Judd nelson jumping ship with the lame excuse of not seeing his character developing properly ( more likely got a better offer serving happy meals), and just the ever bland miss Shields and Eric idle (who really looked like he didn't want to be there), left to hold the show.
Still hopefully one day the studio will release season 2 and 3 for us to enjoy, then burn Brooke shields and the series 4 writers for their crimes against comedy
Brooke Shields isn't that great in that role, thats my opinion but shes not all that funny and most of her "humor" is really predictable and not well played. Kathy Griffin annoys the living daylights out of me BIG TIME to the point I cannot watch her. But I haven't seen enough to know everyone else yet but the writers were asleep most of the time from what I've seen and whose brilliant idea was it for them to break into that "Rollin on the river" song in the earthquake episode? If thats Brooke Shields' real voice, she can sing that I will say even if she was lippin (not very well). Other than that, the only reason I watch it is because Judd Nelson is such an awesomely talented guy---other than that...I'd flip to Family Guy or something...