Thursday, June 30, 2011

TV PILOT REVIEW: USA's "Necessary Roughness"

When I first saw the promo for this series, I thought, I love "Friday Night Lights," but do I really want to watch another football show? It doesn't actually have the same tone as "Friday Night Lights," and there's no implication that there will be inspiring pre- or post-game speeches, which is what I like the most about sports shows. It seemed more like it would be a lighter version of HBO's "In Treatment," and the therapy procedural is one of my least favorite types of series. Then I thought, I have no clue who this actress is and even though there are three hot actors in it, that cannot be my sole reason for tolerating it. Ultimately, I decided that I'd give it a shot to see if there was more to it than the promos suggested. It turns out it is like "Friday Night Lights," if the coach's wife Tammy was the lead and her husband was a cheating, broke bastard, who forced her to postpone her career ambitions so that he could bolster his own and she could take care of their kids.

The pilot wastes no time immersing you into Dani's (Callie Thorne from "Rescue Me") way of life. In the span of five minutes, you learn that she's an attentive mother with a keen eye for mischief, an impressive therapist, who helps people physically by helping them emotionally, and a strong-willed woman, who values herself enough not to forgive a man who slept with several women in their bed and kept souvenirs on his phone. As the episode progresses, you learn that she has an Italian temper to match her Jersey accent. She's not one to back down from a fight, not when it's with her husband for the custody of the kids, when it's with her daughter regarding her truancy, or with a new employer who thinks he can compromise her ethics for a price. One of the best lines last night was when the coach asked for a refund and she replied, "If you would like a moneyback guarantee, then go buy a washing machine." Like I said after watching "Suits," the USA Network is really good at giving you the full scope of a character—both the good and the bad. As a result, it endears the viewer to them, because their unapologetically raw and realistic.

Adding to the fun are a cast of decent supporting characters. Craig Bierko ("Unhitched") plays Ray, her sleazy husband, who'll do everything in his power to not pay alimony and child support under the guise of "still loving her." Concetta Tomei ("Providence") plays her hilarious mom, Angela, who spends more time placing bets than she does doting on her grandkids, and imparts enough bad advice to possibly explain why Dani became a therapist. Hannah Marks ("Weeds" and Runaways) and Patrick Johnson (Mean Girls 2 and Christmas Cupid) play her rebellious teenage kids, Lindsay and Ray Jr., who skip school and invade her patients' privacy. Amanda Detmer (Final Destination) plays Jeanette, her supportive best friend, who pushes her to want more for herself. Marc Blucas (Knight & Day and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") plays Matthew, her post-filing-for-divorce one-night-stand and a sports physical therapist, who recommends her to his boss as a reliable therapist after she gives him a free session to cure him of his smoking addiction. Mehcad Brooks ("True Blood" and "Desperate Housewives") plays TK, the football pro who has deep-seated abandonment issues that affect his confidence and subsequent ability to play. Scott Cohen ("Gilmore Girls") plays Nico, the team's Fixer, who handles all indiscretions that the coaches are not legally allowed to get involved in, as well as a potential love interest for Dani. He's far more mature and evolved than Marc. He, like her, has had a lifetime of serving people who need babysitters to clean up their messes. They have a certain respect for each other that could snowball into a trusting relationship. When Marc asked her to trust him, she refuses to trust anyone after what her husband did, but she buckles when Nico asks. It almost seemed effortless. And that's what she needs: a drama-free, trustworthy gentleman.

I'm not actually a fan of female-driven USA shows. I didn't like "In Plain Sight" when it first debuted, "Fairly Legal" was seriously boring, and I only tolerate "Covert Affairs" because of Christopher Gorham (Auggie). I think this is the first time they did it right. I look forward to the procedural format, watching as the doc mends the athletically gifted and emotionally challenged, while juggling motherhood and a new single life. I really like this show and it has everything to do with Thorne. She's like a mixture of Maria Bello and Vanessa Marcil ("Las Vegas"). A volatile firecracker!

No comments:

Post a Comment