The overwhelming message that screams from the premiere of the charming “Cold Feet” is that love sucks if you happen to be blessed with all of the good fortune our nation has to offer — that is, if you’re a member of the demographic sliver that is young, white, intelligent, successful and gorgeous. Many viewers might have difficulty relating to this perspective, yet the show’s pilot largely hits the nail squarely in attempting to create a lighthearted “thirtysomething.”
Based on the popular British series of the same name, “Cold Feet” in its NBC incarnation is more or less a primer on selfishness. Exec producer Kerry Ehrin, in her opening teleplay, manages to mitigate our loathing of these self-absorbed, spoiled-silly couples — two marriages, one newly dating — by marinating the proceedings in an almost mocking irreverence. And it pretty much works. How can we resent these people when they seem to understand the absurdity of their own dissatisfaction?
“Cold Feet” leapfrogs between three young couples who live lives of quiet desperation in Seattle. One couple consists of Adam (David Sutcliffe) and Shelley (Jean Louisa Kelly). He’s a classic Peter Pan Syndrome womanizer who fears commitment. She’s a bright dreamer who just got jilted by a man she didn’t much love, anyway.
Meanwhile, Adam’s best friends Pete (William Keane) and his pregnant wife Jenny (Dina Spybey) have a different sort of problem. Her whacked-out hormones have turned her into a sex maniac who must have it several times a day. This was kind of cool with Pete until the pace failed to slow in Month Three. Now he has fallen asleep during intercourse, which does little for the emotionally overwrought Jenny’s self confidence.And then there are Shelley’s friends Karen (Alicia Coppola) and David (Anthony Starke). Their marriage is showing the strain of caring for a newborn. She wants a nanny. He wants her to gut it out. She’s going nuts. He’s never home. They have all the teamwork of the L.A. Clippers.
Helmer Nicole Holofcener keeps the appealing players in a spunky rhythm that can be annoying, but makes for believable interaction. Sutcliffe in particular has breakout star potential with his Prince Charming looks and offbeat style. “Cold Feet” pilot is sharp technically all around.
Breezy and entertaining, series leaves you feeling the need to come back next week. And the audience just might, given the show’s relatively barren timeslot (Friday nights at 10) opposite ABC’s “20/20” and the fading “Nash Bridges” on CBS. “Nash,” at least, looks ripe for the plucking, Yasmine Bleeth or no Yasmine Bleeth.
The coming weeks will reveal if there is sufficient substance beneath the clever trappings to sustain the premise. But this much is already clear: if all mankind reacted to pregnancy and babies the way these folks do, the human race would have faded to black long ago.