March 14, 2005
'The Boots Report': Jake in Progress: ABC's Midseason 'Hip' Replacement

jake_progress.jpgTo paraphrase the name of a classic TV sitcom, ABC Can't Lose!

Following the commercial and critical success of Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Blind Justice, last night ABC introduced Jake in Progress, the best midseason replacement show I've seen in years. Maybe ever!

Jake in Progress stars John Stamos as "Jake Phillips," a likable, fast-talking New York publicist. The twist is, Jake is a heterosexual and he loves women—a lot. He's sort of a male version of "Carrie Bradshaw" from Sex & the City: he's a bit glib, a bit flighty, but he has a heart of gold. He also dresses well. (There's another piece to be written about the new trend of TV show's about publicists, but that's for another time.)

You might remember Stamos from his other ABC hits, Thieves and Full House: he's so at ease on TV, there's no doubt why he's a star. But Jake in Progress is also marked by an amazing supporting cast, all of whom have long, illustrious TV careers.

Playing "Jake's boss" is Wendie Malick, who was amazing in Just Shoot Me (and, for fans of obscure TV history, she was also on Dream On with Brian Benben—where's that guy been?). Ian Gomez, whom you might recall as "Javier" from Felicity is Jake's best friend, "Adrian." (Little bit of trivia: Gomez is married to My Big Fat Greek Wedding phenom Nia Vardalos. Wonder if he uses Windex as aftershave?) Rounding out the cast is Rick Hoffman, whom I loved in The $treet, which was also like a male version of Sex & The City and not just because it was exec. produced by Darren Star. Oh, and I forgot Mädchen Amick from ER and Twin Peaks.

But enough about the awesome cast: Jake in Progress is also extremely well-written. This is a show so hip, the writers were able to sneak in tons of cool references for people who "get" them: David Blaine, Lipsynka, Jerry Maguire, Seabiscuit. You've gotta be smart to keep up. This is definitely not CBS's Yes, Dear. (Although, that show is pretty great, too.) The dialogue is snappy, like one of those old screwball comedies. And the camera work is frenetic but not overwhelming.

Most of all, this show is for adults—and not in an HBO way. (Don't get me wrong: I looooove HBO: The Sopranos is the best, followed by Six Feet Under, then Deadwood, then Carnivale then Unscripted: love it all!) I mean, it's a show about what it's like to be a grownup in contemporary New York. It's not a show where 35 year-olds have roommates and ducks like on Friends (though I love Friends and still watch it in syndication) and it's definitely, definitely not a show about "nothing" like Seinfeld. (Which I got on DVD for Christmas this year—thanks, Randy!).

I can't wait to see how this show develops over the course of the season. Jake is already making great "progress."

icon_stevie_boots.gificon_stevie_boots.gificon_stevie_boots.gif (3 out of 4 "Boots")

And now, like the host of my favorite guilty pleasure show, I can say: Stevie Boots—out!

Related: Other shows with "Jake" in the title: Jake and the Fatman; Jake 2.0; Body by Jake.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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