Wednesday, March 19, 2008

TV: "Miss/Guided" Review

I watched the pilot episode of "Miss/Guided" last night. It stars Judy Greer, who was a hilarious scene stealer in 27 Dresses and "Two and a Half Men." She plays Becky Freeley, a grown up geek living with her mom, who returns to her high school to become its guidance counselor. When I first heard about the premise of this show, I knew that there were a few gags that it could dish out. The fact that she was a loser back in high school and probably has no good advice to bestow upon the student body is a definite running joke. But I wasn't positive there was anymore to it. Then I watched last night's episode and I was formally introduced to the other amusing factors of the show.

Factor #1: She's in love with one of her fellow teachers Tim (Kristoffer Polaha from "North Shore"), who happens to be the only attractive teacher at the school. He's also a little dense. He use to teach auto-shop and now he's teaching Spanish...badly, because apparently "La biblioteca esta en la playa" (The library is in the beach). She might actually have a chance with him, since he willingly eats lunch with her every day and respects her as an inspiring individual. So in high school he probably would've been the artsy bad boy with a heart of gold a la Lucas Scott in "One Tree Hill."

Factor #2: She has an arch nemesis, Lisa (Brooke Burns also from "North Shore"), who used to be the most popular girl in school. The principal hired her to teach English. Not only are all the students drooling over, but so is Tim. She's recently divorced and out on the prowl. Her claws are so sharp that she tried to talk trash about Becky to Tim, but being the awesome guy that he is, he defended her. And being the manipulator that she is, she pretended he misunderstood her comments. Her cunning evil ways will most likely develop over the season.

Factor #3: The rest of her supporting characters--students excluded--are a group of pathetic men. Principal Huffy (Earl Billings) has a disturbing, adulterous crush on her, which is why he hired her. Vice Principal Bruce Terry (Chris Parnell from "30 Rock") is socially retarded, controlling, awkward, and obnoxious. And the math teacher Peter (Tim Bagley from "Monk") is so boring that he seems to answer most questions in a long-winded manner that often include equations. Together, they make her seem normal.

Factor #4: As for the students, they're all nearly certifiably insane, yet relatable. I don't know what that says about youth today, but they are. Vanessa Marano (Luke's daughter in "Gilmore Girls") plays a girl who is very similar to Becky's former self and is very attached to her. Newcomer Chad Broskey plays a kid who considers a girl who is two years older than him to be "an older woman." Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) plays an awkward kid she mentors that can't find his place in any clique and prefers to watch and criticize from the sidelines. That definitely sounds like high school.

Factor #5: It's being directed by Todd Holland, who did "Malcolm in the Middle," and written by Caroline Williams, who may be a novice, but has had experience writing for "The Office"--both of which would explain those frequent heart-to-hearts directed towards the camera.

Despite these enticing factors, I refuse to make a final judgment on this so-far-funny show until I watch the two new episodes airing this Thursday at 8pm & 8:30pm with executive producer Ashton Kutcher guest starring.

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