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March 7, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | March 7, 2007 |

I’m writing this introduction before having watched this show’s premiere episode and I’ll say that my expectations for it are quite low. These low expectations come both from reviews I’ve already seen and because of my lack of interest in the storyline of the show itself (as my Comcast DVR describes it: “The Bell sisters take over the family wedding-planning business after their parents divorce”). So why, you ask, do I intend to review it?

Because it comes from David E. Kelley and, for better or worse, there’s still love in my heart for the man. I enjoyed some of “L.A. Law” well enough, I loved “Picket Fences,” I was a huge “Chicago Hope” fan, I enjoyed the earlier, comedic parts of “Ally McBeal” (there was a time that Greg Germann’s Fish was my favorite TV character), and I even enjoyed the first year and a half of “Boston Public.” Plus, the genesis of my life as a TV critic was an impromptu review of the atrocious first episode of “Girls Club,” said review coming in the form of a simple e-mail sent to several friends (including Pajiba’s own Dustin). And then there’s the fact that he’s an alum of my law school, he was our graduation speaker, and I’ve even inadvertently followed in his footsteps by performing in, writing for, and assistant-directing the law school’s annual theater show.

And he married Michelle Pfeiffer, for crying out loud.

None of that raises my expectations for this show, mind you, since he’s taken several missteps over the last several years. But I feel like I owe it to the guy. However, I have too much writing on my plate to give this the full-blown review I normally would do. So I’m going to steal a page from Dustin’s book and go with a real-time review (but just with minute markers, without the seconds, ‘cause I’m too lazy for that shit). It probably won’t be nearly as funny or entertaining as Dustin’s most recent such piece (Open Water 2), but c’est la vie.

Oh, and while the show premiered Wednesday night at 9, that was a sneak peak intended to leech off of the preceding episode of “American Idol.” Fox will be airing the premiere episode again in the show’s regular time slot, Friday at 9 p.m. (which means you can watch the show while reading my running commentary — it’s like a DVD extra!). Now, on with the show. …

00: Fox let the “American Idol” credits bleed over a little bit, sparing us several seconds of what I’m guessing will be a rather painful hour. We should probably cherish each of these seconds.

01: Teri Polo is one of the Bell sisters, which makes me happy, as I have a bit of a crush on her (despite her appearance in Meet the Fockers). But Pamela Adlon is also in the show (although, since she’s dressed as a bride, I’m guessing it’s only for this episode), and I can’t forgive her for being part of the failed experiment that was HBO’s “Lucky Louie,” even though she’s the wonderful voice of Bobby on “King of the Hill.” So these two cancel each other out.

02: Oh, see, the smooth wedding planners talk a hesitant bride down from her chain smoking paranoia, to make her realize that this is the man of her dreams, and she nods and says “you’re absolutely right,” and then turns around and flees. That’s funny! And one of the wedding planners says “we’ve got a runner” into her little lapel mike. That’s even funnier!

02: Women running in slow motion, as we are given a credit showing their character names. Nice way to do the opening credits, particularly because their fancy dresses allow for some boob jiggle. If the opening credits include similar boob jiggling every week, Kelley may just be on to something.

03: Commercial for Sandra Bullock’s new flick, Premonition. I actually kind of dig the poster for this movie. As for the movie itself? … I kinda dig the poster for this movie.

06: Commercial for “TV’s newest phenomenon,” the Jeff Foxworthy-hosted “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” This thing has been a ratings bonanza, and that fact alone pretty much answers the question for you, doesn’t it?

06: The show comes back with Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage” playing over a location shot. I kinda miss “Married with Children.”

07: Two platinum blondes in tight and low-cut red tops and heels just hustled over to meet up with our wedding planners, giving us our second set of boob jiggles in five minutes. We’re two more scenes away from “Baywatch” territory here.

07: Shit. The show’s gone from boob jiggle to nasty arm jiggle (“it’s like a metronome”). Misfire number one.

08: One of the sisters might just be a whore. We’re back on track.

09: It took Kelley nine minutes to get his first reference to a lawyer (“Could you speak to Ernesto? He evidently put shrimp in the Epsteins’ marinara. They’ve hired a lawyer”). That might be a record for the longest he’s gone in a new show without a lawyer reference.

11: The Italian chef is hitting on Teri Polo. Back off man, she’s mine.

13: Ah! Polo’s husband is a lawyer (I think). Knew there had to be at least one.

13: Yup, that sister from minute eight is totally a whore — she just banged a groomsman and got called out by Polo Sister because she had the “sex hair.” Fantastic.

14: We’re back in commercial right now. You know, so far, I’m not sure what the tone of the show is supposed to be. I think Kelley’s going for the lighter dramedy angle, but the “-edy” part of that term usually requires some actual laughs. And so far, there’s been no whimsy, no wit, no funny, no laughs. Which is disappointing because, even in his crappier fare, I’ve usually found his intentional comedy to be more-or-less on.

17: Aaaand, we’re back.

19: OK, so we’re being introduced to the mother of the bride (who Polo Sister earlier referred to by some derogatory “Momzilla”-type name which I now forget). She’s talking to Whore Sister, and I’d like to share her little monologue with you verbatim:

Momzilla: I’m an acquired taste. I’m here to discuss the menu. I understand you’re one of the Bell sisters. … I hold $500 in my hand. You will take this on consideration of the following. My little baby is marrying a Jew. I have no problem with this — they’re very nice people. The $500 is for you to get the mail-order minister to slip in “Jesus” twice. I don’t care when. If he wants to stub his toe and say “Jesus Christ,” I’ll take it. But the man’s a savior, he deserves a mention.

20: … Sigh.

20: Catty in-fighting between Polo Sister and the Other Sister (no idea what her name is, and she’s just generic “professional woman”).

21: Oy vey. Polo Sister is lecturing Other Sister about how she’s a wedding planner because of bitterness over their parent’s divorce or something. I zoned out. But it was very serious, so I guess that was the “dram-” part of the dramedy.

22: The wedding singer is being told off by the bride, who’s a raging bitch. But, snap! He’s coming right back at her because she’s a “loveless fraud.”

23: And now the bride is telling Polo Sister and Other Sister that they’re fired, and bang — lawyer reference number two (not counting Polo Sister’s husband, as I’m still not totally sure he’s a lawyer yet): “If I do not receive a full refund by end of business tomorrow, I will be contacting my attorneys … of which I have dozens!”

23: And now the wedding singer is at a bar, bemoaning the fact that he’s just a simple wedding singer. I’m actually wishing Adam Sandler were in this show, that’s what I’ve already been reduced to, twenty-three minutes in.

24: Stupid joke with Polo Sister quoting “I Will Surive,” trying to be funny by saying it all serious and earnest-like and then getting called on trying to make a joke and … whatever, I still have a crush on her.

26: Naked chick, and they’re showing absolutely as much as they can without the FCC hounds being unleashed. Gotta love Fox.

28: Big confrontation between Polo Sister and the bride who’s trying to fire them, and the dialogue is so cheesy and stilted and just … sub-par. “Don’t you yearn sometimes to welcome a different man into your private areas?” Is Kelley going the Aaron Sorkin route and doing ‘shrooms while he’s writing?

29: Ah, and because it’s funny, the bride just repeated the joke, saying something about welcoming “another man into my private areas.”

30: Commercial. So the bride called Polo’s husband a bean counter, and since he’s repeatedly (in another flat joke), referred to himself as the chief operating officer of the business (“I’m the C … O … O.”), I’m going to guess he’s an accountant, not a lawyer. Which means we’re up to three legal references, because he made a crack about being very familiar with tax laws or something — it was a while ago, and nothing about this show is being stored in the “memory” portion of my brain.

32: I could really go for a Geico caveman commercial right about now — would really hit the spot.

35: Oh yeah, so Other Sister used to be hooked up with the company’s photographer, and she sorta wants to be back together with him (that was some of what her earlier catty in-fighting with Polo Sister was about). But he was the one with that naked chick in his apartment, so that might not happen. So, to recap, we’ve got this awful relationship thing. And then Polo Sister has problems with her husband, who also works for the company (of course), and she’s also being wooed by the chef who has a stupid accent and pretends to be Italian but is actually Greek or some shit. And then there’s the Whore Sister who is, you know, a whore. So three totally cliché setups for the three lead female characters. Somewhere in here there’s a joke about his relationship with Michelle Pfeiffer and why he doesn’t know anything about real women, but my brain’s a little too flat to come up with one, so we’ll make this a Reader Fill-in-the-Blank.

36: OK, that was a minorly funny moment. The wedding singer was apologizing to the bride, and there was this cheesy music playing on top of it. But the bitchy bride calls him out on the fact that he had the band scoring his apology (so it wasn’t just the show’s soundtrack, you see). Cute. Not hilarious, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

37: The jiggling boob twins are back with another hustle, this time in low-cut, tight pink tops. But it’s not sexist, because the joke here is all about them wanting to show their cleavage off, you see?

38: Umm … wow. OK, time to rewind and transcribe some dialogue again. So this black lady who works for the wedding planning company is chewing out the two blonde chicks over their fascination with having their cleavage show, and explaining that they’re not the brides, and they can have all the cleavage they want at their wedding. Or something like that — I was staring at the cleavage. Anyway, let’s pick up at the end of her diatribe (and I’m sorry, I totally don’t know any character’s name here):

Black Lady: … What’s wrong with the both of you.

Boobs 1:

Boobs 2:

Black Lady: Why you looking at me like that?

Boobs 1: Umm, please don’t take this personally …

Boobs 2: … but we’re totally afraid of black people.

Boobs 1: Not the Cosby kind.

Boobs 2: But when they’re angry.

Boobs 1: It’s totally cultural.

Boobs 2: Oh my god, totally. Do you have a record?

We’re totally afraid of black people? The Cosby kind? I mean … can we just have some more breast jiggling please?

39: Awwww. …Whore Sister just learned a valuable lesson. She was about to bang that groomsman again, only to find out that he’s married. Could this be the turning point where she stops being a whore and becomes a sweet flower?

39: Polo Sister’s husband again notes that he’s the company’s C-O-O. I’m waiting for when that’s going to be funny (I believe it’s the third time now).

40: It’s the big confrontation between Polo Sister and her COO husband. Good times, good drama.

41: … Sigh. The husband gave this big “manly” speech about why it’s not OK for married women to be attracted to other men, and of course at the end of it, Polo Sister says: “Russell, that was almost sexy.”

44: Chuck Norris in a Mountain Dew commercial! Totally the best thing to happen in the last 44 minutes.

45: Commercial for the local news: “The newly developed super-tomato … that could prevent birth defects - next!” Strike my Chuck Norris comment. Super Tomatoes totally trump Chuck Norris.

46: Our first patented David E. Kelley character quirk! The bitchy mother can’t cry: “I have defective tear ducts — it’s genetic.”

46-47: Musical montage as everyone gets ready for the wedding. I hope there’s one of these in every episode, ‘cause that won’t get old at all.

48: The Bitchy Bride isn’t going out there “because I don’t feel sexy. I need to feel sexy on my wedding day and I’m not sexy!”

49: Hahahahahaha. … The photographer kicked everyone out of the room and he’s making her feel sexy again by taking sexy photos of her licking her lips, baring her shoulders, hoisting her dress, etc. So stupid.

50: Never mind — not stupid. Genius. Kelley just got us another breast jiggle, and two gratuitous cleavage shots!

51: OK, the priest just started the ceremony, and there’s gonna have to be a call-back and “payoff” to the bride’s mom demanding two Jesus shout-outs, right?

52: Sho’ nuff:

Priest: We are gathered here in the name of love and God. Whether your God be Jesus Christ, Moses, Mohammed. …We are here to celebrate the love and union of Amanda Pontell and Jesus Christ. …Ivan Cohen, I beg your pardon.

Slam dunk!

53: The Boob Girls showed up with their cleavage out anyway. God bless you, David E. Kelley.

53: But here comes the Black Lady to yell at them (I’m sorry I don’t know your name Black Lady), which gives Boobs 1 a chance to say: “Oh my god, it’s the black person.” Oh my god indeed.

55: Another shot of Boobs 1 and Boobs 2 and their dancing cleavage. I can’t wait to go back through this review and come up with a final tally.

55: And the bride’s dancing with a boob jiggle move. Fantastic.

55: And Polo Sister is dancing with her husband, but looking at the Italian/Greek chef guy. Man, there’s gonna be trouble there, I’ll tell you what.

56: Another shot of Boobs 1 and Boobs 2 dancing and jiggling. Unbelievable.

56: Whore Sister has been with 32 men. I’ll turn this over to the readers. So what’s the ruling here, does that mean she’s officially a whore or what? What’s the whore standard out there these days?

57: Man, this relationship crap between Other Sister and the photographer is even worse than the Polo Sister drama. Whore Sister is by far the best of the sisters, simply because there’s no relationship drama to be had (I’ll take whatever bad whore drama she’s going to have over bad relationship drama any day of the week).

58: OK, seriously people. David E. Kelley is a genius. The bride’s dress just caught on fire. Stupid. But folks try to put it out by stomping on her dress, causing the dress to rip and expose her naughty black garters. Brilliant.

59: This season, on “The Wedding Bells.” Another shot of Boobs 1 and Boobs 2 running and jiggling! … And some more stupid relationship crap.

OK, so here’s the final tally. One naked chick (as naked as can be at 9 p.m. on network TV). One set of naughty black garters. Four gratuitous cleavage shots (counting Boobs 1 and Boobs 2 separately, but only when they were not also jiggling). And ladies and gentlemen, fourteen pairs of jiggling boobs.

I won’t be watching this show again, don’t get me wrong. But I totally applaud you, David E. Kelley. In fact, my man-boobs are jiggling in admiration.


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. And one of these days, he may try to dig up that “Girls Club” review and give you a sneak peak at where it all began.

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"The Wedding Bells" / The TV Whore
Mar. 7, 2007

TV | March 7, 2007 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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