Jake in Progress
Didn't UPN once have a show called Jake 2.0? Too bad. ABC could have used the title, because that's what this second-season premiere essentially was: an updated pilot for the series' new direction. What that direction is, alas, remains to be seen. John Stamos and Co. have tweaked the Jerk in Progress angle, giving Jake an ex to pine over in an effort to make him a little more vulnerable. They should have gone for a little more funny. Say what you want about Stamos (and you probably want to say something about Full House, or his hair, or the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" video), he's just a likable guy. But is likability reason enough to watch a situation comedy short on other criteria? And what was with the occasional, completely unnecessary split screens? This ain't 24. As a producer, Stamos should have given himself some punch lines. His scenes with Charlotte Ross' Annie the girl he apparently obsesses about despite the fact that she's never been seen and hardly been mentioned before were sweet and loaded with potential but just not funny.
The supporting cast did all the heavy lifting in this episode. Rick Hoffman had a nice bit with the cupcake bakery called Muffin, and the biggest laugh of the night came from his Patrick mispronouncing the name Eugene. And Wendie Malick's Naomi as a mother was hilarious. As a father of an infant, I totally get the humor in lines like, "What if I break the baby?" and "This hospital makes you go home!" The final piece with her hitting the baby's head was, however, a little much. Besides, shouldn't a show with the name "Jake" in the title give the final word (and laugh) to, I don't know, Jake? Jonathan McDaid
The Bachelor: Paris
This show cracks me up. Despite relocating to Paris with the promise of some added flavor and European flair, The Bachelor just can't break out of its tried-and-true formula: 25 attractive yet borderline crazy women, roses, rose ceremonies, hyperbole and an overly excited host. Don't get me wrong, Chris Harrison embodies that perfect mix of solemnity (for love is a serious business) and cheesiness required for such a show, but it scares me that he seems more excited about the women than the actual bachelor does. Speaking of formulaic, this year's hunk, Travis Stork, though tall and handsome, is a bit of a Bachelor cliché. No doubt he's a great candidate for the show, but are attractive white males the only American men in search of wives? For a show that is desperately trying to break out of a self-imposed rut (remember the Charlie O'Connell season?) it might try to broaden its horizons just a bit.
As for the women, I had hoped for a bunch of continental ladies (they certainly made the show for Joe Millionaire II). This season's batch is another group of pseudopageant types who have been transplanted to France from the States. But I must applaud their many creative hairstyles. It was like visiting Baltimore. If you've ever had the pleasure of buzzing through that city, you'll know what I'm talking about. If not, plan a trip to the Inner Harbor in the summer and just look around. To my eyes, Travis had immediate chemistry with Cole, Susan, Moana and Sarah from Winnipeg, so I was glad to see them get a rose. I was equally happy that "my eggs are rotting" Allie did not receive one. That is hands-down the grossest quote of the show if not the whole Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. I will give Allie credit for making the post-rose ceremony interesting. Spouting off about reproduction and confronting Travis added to the drama of this "most romantic Bachelor ever." From the previews, I expect there will be much more drama. So, let's get on with the show, or as they say in French: Laissez les bon temps roulez! Rhoda Charles