×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Geena Davis Show

Geena Davis' character Teddie seems to have never been around a child, asked a teenager a question or thought about her behavior in the presence of anyone beyond a boyfriend or her female friends. Variations on this "innocence lost," to bastardize the poet William Blake, form the crux of "The Geena Davis Show" as Teddie maneuvers through the daily grind of raising stepkids, continuing to be the sexy mistress for hubby-to-be Max (Peter Horton) and holding down the top job at nonprofit event planning agency. Yet another vamp on "Sex in the City" -- this time married to "Full House."

With:
Teddie - Geena Davis Max - Peter Horton Hillary - Mimi Rogers Judy - Kim Coles Alan - Harland Williams Carter - John Francis Daley Eliza - Makenzie Vega Gladys - Esther Scott

Geena Davis’ character Teddie seems to have never been around a child, asked a teenager a question or thought about her behavior in the presence of anyone beyond a boyfriend or her female friends. Variations on this “innocence lost,” to bastardize the poet William Blake, form the crux of “The Geena Davis Show” as Teddie maneuvers through the daily grind of raising stepkids, continuing to be the sexy mistress for hubby-to-be Max (Peter Horton) and holding down the top job at nonprofit event planning agency. Yet another vamp on “Sex in the City” — this time married to “Full House” — Davis’ return to the small screen needs to get more out of its ensemble to last more than a season.

Davis’ name is certainly the show’s drawing card, though it puts unrealistic expectations on what she can achieve in a show that’s not singularly star-driven and has an ensemble that has yet to gel. ABC has wisely given it a great timeslot behind “Dharma and Greg,” whose audience may well take to the rookie series.

The backstory of Davis’ Teddie is told lightning quick in the opener: She lives in Manhattan on a diet of takeout Chinese food, Starbucks coffee and the acerbic wit of her two friends Hillary (Mimi Rogers) and Judy (Kim Coles). She dates the laid-back writer Max for six weeks and boom they’re engaged. Teddie leaves the city for the suburbs and moves in. Both parties have put the adjustment of the two kids, Carter (“Freaks and Geeks'” John Francis Daley) and Eliza (Makenzie Vega), on the back burner.

The rough going manifests itself in the little things (singing in the car) and the major ones (forgetting to leave a note for a playdate; wandering the house in a T-shirt and panties).

Teddie is determined to do it all, but she’s doing it with a family that appears to be all out of sorts. Pre-schooler Eliza alternates between two opposite emotions — hate you, love you — and Carter’s hormonal imbalance isn’t as spot on as it could be. Horton plays Max as low-key and mellow, and it requires a press kit to know he’s an established writer. Otherwise, he appears about as employed as Ozzie Nelson.

Show isn’t so much bad as it is in need of a shakeup. The chemistry between Davis and her co-stars isn’t there, even after a couple of recastings. Rogers’ Hillary is cut from the same cloth as Christine Baranski’s Maryann on “Cybill,” and she gets the best lines of the lot. Weirdo workmate Alan (Harland Williams), as written, has little value, and housekeeper Gladys (Esther Scott) is stuck in an old-hat role. This combination of sex jokes, kid jokes and family jokes gets to be a mixture that’s difficult to contain and focus.

And two unscheduled episodes included for review suggest the writing is headed to a more puerile level. One episode features Teddie contributing to Carter’s bake sale, but her bat-and-ball creation is quickly dubbed “the penis cake” — a phrase that all involved enjoy saying over and over (shades of Lenny Bruce’s “Blah Blah Blah” routine). And then there’s the night the girls take Max to a play. What else? “The Vagina Monologues.”

Possibly time will help “The Geena Davis Show,” which shouldn’t be as off the mark as it is. The concept is good, its design is solid, the direction is effective and the players all have definite talent. Time to re-examine the scripts.

The Geena Davis Show

ABC, Tues. Oct. 10, 9:30 p.m.

Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Touchstone Television Prods. Executive producers, Nina Wass, Gene Stein, Terri Minksy, David Flebotte; co-executive producers, Geena Davis, Jim Vallely; producer, Dawn Dekeyser; director, Andy Cadiff; writer, Terri Minsky;

Crew: Director of photography, George La Fountaine; production designer, Michael Hynes; editor, Peter Beyt; music, Jonathon Wolff, Rich Ragsdale; casting, Lisa Miller Katz. 30 MIN.

Cast: Teddie - Geena Davis Max - Peter Horton Hillary - Mimi Rogers Judy - Kim Coles Alan - Harland Williams Carter - John Francis Daley Eliza - Makenzie Vega Gladys - Esther Scott

More TV

  • BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary with

    BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary With Stephen Fry, Freddie Fox

    A new documentary about Oscar Wilde will tell the celebrated writer’s story with a star cast recreating excerpts from his greatest works, including “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Freddie Fox, Claire Skinner, Anna Chancellor and James Fleet will all perform in the 80-minute show, “The Importance of Being Oscar,” which [...]

  • FOSSE VERDON -- Pictured: (l-r) Michelle

    TV News Roundup: 'Fosse/Verdon' Premiere Date Set at FX

    In today’s TV news roundup, FX announced the premiere date for “Fosse/Verdon,” and Comedy Central released a new trailer for the final season of “Broad City.”  DATES “Workin’ Moms” is set to premiere Feb. 22 on Netflix. The series, which is currently in its third season, first aired in Canada on CBC Television and is [...]

  • Ilana Glazer Abbi Jacobson

    'Broad City' Stars on Discovering New Aspects of Their Characters

    Throughout the run of “Broad City,” creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have been conflicted about how much of their on-screen characters (also named Abbi and Ilana) should come directly from their personalities and lives. But when it came to the final season, Jacobson in particular experienced a life-changing shift that she wanted to impart [...]

  • The Goldbergs spinoff

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured' From 'Goldbergs' Producers

    NBC has ordered a pilot for the multi-camera comedy “Uninsured.” In the series, young parents Dave and Rebecca end up having to take care of Dave’s parents who have mishandled their finances and need help to pay down a sizable debt. Dan Levy will serve as writer and executive producer, with Doug Robinson and Alison Greenspan [...]

  • Emily Kapnek

    'Splitting Up Together' Creator Emily Kapnek Inks Overall Deal at ABC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    Writer and producer Emily Kapnek has signed a three-year overall deal at ABC Studios, Variety has learned exclusively. Kapnek most recently developed the ABC single-cam comedy series “Splitting Up Together,” which is based on the Danish series “Bedre skilt end aldrig.” She was previously under an overall deal at Warner Bros. Television, which produces “Splitting Up [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content