Less Than Perfect

It's title much too optimistic, ABC's "Less Than Perfect" is in love with the idea that chubby folks are people too. Mildly amusing in bits and pieces whenever it highlights workplace politics, show, airing after "Life With Bonnie" on the Alphabet's Tuesday night comedy lineup, is a low-rent proposition, with full-figured Sara Rue taking center stage.

With:
Claude - Sara Rue Ramona - Sherri Shepherd Lydia - Andrea Parker Kipp - Zachary Levi Owen - Andy Dick Will - Eric Roberts

It’s title much too optimistic, ABC’s “Less Than Perfect” is in love with the idea that chubby folks are people too. Mildly amusing in bits and pieces whenever it highlights workplace politics, show, airing after “Life With Bonnie” on the Alphabet’s Tuesday night comedy lineup, is a low-rent proposition, with full-figured Sara Rue taking center stage as a working girl with major confidence issues. Problems aside, it’s casting director should be applauded for getting Eric Roberts and Andy Dick to share screen time.

Taking a page from “Will & Grace’s” let’s-be-mean-to-everyone book, “Perfect” doesn’t always stick to its guns. One moment, its lead is taking harsh criticism from her fellow (and thinner) colleagues at a TV station, and the next, she’s baking brownies and listening to their advice. She’s admittedly sad, lonely and terribly unhappy, yet she’s constantly upbeat. It’s much too manic and unfocused.

But that’s apparently the life lived by Claudia “Claude” Casey (Rue), a floating temp at the news division who finally gets her big break when she’s upped to the 22nd floor after a stint on “middle earth” pushing papers alongside Ramona (Sherri Shepherd) and Owen (Dick).

Moving up in stature as well, her new job is to aid Will Burton (Roberts), a selfish anchorman who can’t remember any of his flaws but sees how caring Claude can be and how terrific her attitude is. In fact, he thinks she’d be a good foil for backstabber Kipp (Zachary Levi), an assistant producer chock-full of sarcasm and huge insults, and Lydia (Andrea Parker), a shallow, beautiful up-and-comer who thought the position would be hers.

“Perfect” is brisk and bouncy enough, but the aftertaste is stale. Watching Casey degrade herself with joke after joke isn’t particularly entertaining, especially since the fat fetish is such a lazy approach. Thesp is clearly talented — she’s done much TV work, including stints on “The Division” and the short-lived “The Simple Life” — so the whole notion of overweight individuals finding the waters unbearable isn’t particularly genuine here.

Supporting cast is a mixed bag. Newcomer Levy is hard to take at first, but his sharpedged zings, clearly modeled after Sean Hayes’ barbs in ‘Will & Grace,” eventually win out. Dick is also a hoot as a sardonic colleague who’s content to mock the higher-ups. Everyone else is going through the motions, with Roberts looking particularly uncomfortable as the flighty boss-with-a-heart-of-gold.

Tech credits are routine, and the series is too comfortable stuck in the confines of office space.

Less Than Perfect

Abc, Tues., Oct. 1, 9:30 P.M.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Wass/Stein Productions in association with Touchstone Television. Executive producers, Terry Minsky, Nina Wass, Gene Stein; producer, Bob Heath; director, Ted Wass; writer, Minsky.

Crew: Camera, Tony Askins; editor, Peter Beyt; art director, Michael Hynes; music, Jonathan Wolff; casting, Julie Mossberg, Jill Anthony. 30 MIN.

Cast: Claude - Sara Rue Ramona - Sherri Shepherd Lydia - Andrea Parker Kipp - Zachary Levi Owen - Andy Dick Will - Eric Roberts

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