Thursday, September 18, 2008

"The Ex List" Sounds Like Every Single Woman's Nightmare

Basically, it's My Name Is Earl meets The Bachelorette meets How I Met Your Mother.

Remind me later to talk in full-length about how much CBS sucks. From its programming to its website, it seems determined to be a second rate network. And now, it's come out with a show engineered to traumatize thirty-something single women everywhere: The Ex List.

The main characer, Bella, played by Elizabeth Reaser (Grey's Anatomy) is a single surfer gal in California. All her male friends are attached or seemingly unemployed. Then, at her sister's bachelorette party, a psychic informs her that if she doesn't find her soul mate in the next year, she will lose him forever, and the kicker--it's someone she's already dated. Naturally, she freaks out.

First, what a horrible premise! Basically, the show is saying that all single women in America are just picky and have themselves to blame. They wouldn't be the first--this March, fortyish single writer Lori Gottlieb wrote a compelling case for settling in The Atlantic. Only in Gottlieb's case, she says it is the Hollywood idea of meeting the perfect soul mate that has made it nearly impossible for women to compromise.

So will the writers cop-out and make Bella's true love be a once nerdy friend who magically transformed into a buff hottie after high school? Or will he be the bald, slightly pudgy lawyer with a teabag problem, ala Harry on Sex in the City, who is otherwise caring and adorable? You only have a year to find out!

Which is the second problem--I'm all for keeping shows tight, but a year? At least My Name is Earl had 259 items on Earl's list. Are they really going to cut this off next year if this show takes off? Producer/show runner Diane Ruggiero (Veronica Mars) had said she has a secret plan to extend the show beyond one season.

But if the show can't succeed in the first few eps, they may not even need to cross that bridge. Rugierro herself has left the show last week over creative differences. Despite the upbeat tone of the advertising campaign (featuring a smiling Reaser sitting in a wading pool of frogs) I don't know how many shows are successful in building an audience while simultaneously injecting fear into their main demographic. But if you are home alone when the show debuts, fittingly on October 3, Friday night 9/8c, what else are you going to watch?

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