Friday, April 03, 2009

TV REVIEW: ABC's "Cupid"

This revived 90s series is about a man who believes he's Cupid, sent to Earth to match 100 couples as a punishment. While all the lovebirds have (relatively) no problem accepting his help, his court-appointed therapist, Dr. Claire, is hellbent on convincing him that he's just human and that the type of love he's advertising only exists in fairytales.

I want to start off by saying that there will never be a fair comparison between the 90s "Cupid" and this present incarnation. Jeremy Piven is a one-man show--Bobby Cannavale ("Will & Grace") could never compare--but that's why the show never lasted. While he was the lead actor, the series was dependent on his chemistry with his therapist (Paula Marshall from "Gary Unmarried") and the guest stars he had to match up. Now, does this reboot succeed where the original failed? Not really.

I see the spark between Bobby and Sarah Paulson ("Studio 60"), who plays his doc, but I could do without his landlord/employer, and I don't have the confidence that the producers will be able to deliver the same caliber of romantic interests every episode. I recognized Sean Maguire ("The Class" and Meet the Spartans) and Marguerite Moreau (Queen of the Damned), the lovebirds of the pilot, which made it easier to sink into their mooshy love story, and I liked the twist that was admittedly easy to predict, but their success weighs heavily on their originality.

As for Bobby as the lead, I love his deep voice and puppy-dog eyes. He makes you believe that not only is he on a mission, not only is he homesick, not only is he that mischievious cad Cupid, but that he's kooky enough to believe all of this. He's light, but passionate. The character is interesting too. They've decided to go the route where they'll neither confirm or deny whether he's Cupid yet. He can throw darts perfectly without looking. He can easily communicate with seemingly insane people in psych wards. He told his employer that his name was Eros, but he heard Ed Ross. And, just like in the 90s version, he puts up a string with 100 hundred beads in order to keep track of his matches. But when he's made his first, they never show the bead move, they just show that it's been separated from the rest. So technically there's still a chance he's insane. But that's the mantra of the series: Perhaps you have to be insane in order to believe in love in this harsh world.

Dr. Claire, played with kindness and yet severe pessimism by Paulson, is one of the reasons it's hard to believe in Cupid. Yet, you can't blame Trevor (the name he concocts after seeing the the words "And love shall make the Earth tremor as it's reborn in a storm of fire and hail" in court) for asking, "Wow! Who ripped your heart out?" after she says, "Love is what's left after the heat and the passion die...or fades away...kind of slowly." She's spent fifteen years debunking his romantic theories, so it's goig to be a while before Trevor/Cupid changes her philosophy. Especially since she said that "People don't come [to New York] to fall in love, they come here to make it."

What I most look forward to for this series is a little nugget of a spoiler that Dr. Claire dropped mid-episode. According to mythology, Cupid falls for a human named in the mythological representation of a psychological concept. While the Cupid before her sincerely denies that ever happened, we know she must be the human he's foretold to love. And so while he forges 100 love stories, we watch as his is written right before our eyes.

Tune in for a nicely wrapped rom-com every Tuesday at 10PM!

[Side note: You can watch the pilot of the '98 version on Youtube!]

1 comment:

  1. Is the original Cupid on DVD? I'd like to rewatch those short-lived episodes. I missed the remake, hopefully it's available for viewing online though.