Back to You
Original Air Date: September 19, 2007
Tara R - TwoCents Staff Writer
You know a good sitcom when you can watch an episode again and again and still laugh at the same jokes.
FOX’s much publicized premiere of “Back to You” wasn’t one of those shows - as of yet.
The premiere provided a few chuckles the first time, but the second run through of the same episode was dryer than sitting through a lesson on the Periodic Table of Elements.
The show began with anchor Chuck Darling (Kelsey Grammer) returning to WURG-9 in Pittsburgh after 10 years of moving up through the markets. An obscenity-laced outburst at a ditsy reporter during a broadcast got him fired from his last job as an anchorman in Los Angeles.
He reunites with former on-air partner Kelly Carr (Patricia Heaton) in Pittsburgh, a relationship we soon find out ended on a rocky note and is now filled with one-line jabs and tension. We also find out that before leaving Pittsburgh a decade ago, Darling and Carr had a one night stand. Unbeknownst to Darling, Carr had a daughter through the encounter.
It starts to click to Darling that Carr’s daughter might be his during his first broadcast back, and his reaction provided one of the funnier moments in the show. He finds out for sure the child is his after a visit to Carr’s house. As expected, the dialogue at the house is filled with back-and-forths, which became a little tiring and forced, despite only being one show into the series.
The show also depended far too much on television news clichés that were only mildly funny. Perhaps the laughs were few because we’ve seen the tactics of TV news people spoofed to death on other shows, and the writers of “Back to You“ provided no fresh perspective on the periodic goofiness and cheesiness that is local TV news.
One can only laugh so much at the reporter standing out in hurricane-like rain and wind doing a live shot, the immodestly dressed TV personality and the obsession with appearance and big egos. TV news provides plenty of material for comedy writers, and I hope this show can come up with content that gives us genuine laughs.
With talent like Grammer and Heaton, my hope is that the show’s writers will make the dialogue between Darling and Carr more authentically funny, rather than pushing to hard squeeze laughs from one-line jabs.
I’ll grade the premiere a “C,” but I have high hopes for improvement.