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Sneak Peek at "The Class"

class.jpgCBS sent this to me very late, so I am banging it out before the show hits the air tonight. Save yourselves!

It seems like "from the creators of 'Mad About You' and 'Friends'" might not have the pull that they used to...

Ethan Haas (played by Jason Ritter) is throwing a surprise birthday party for his girlfriend, who he first met in the third grade. The surprise is: He is going to invite a bunch of total strangers -- his third grade class. Sounds like a fun night, huh?

The show kicks off by introducing us to the class lineup. Lina Warbler (Heather Goldenhersh) just caught her boyfriend in bed with someone else. Her sister, Kat, is played by "Mean Girls'" Lizzy Caplan, and she seems to be playing a very similar role here -- a sarcastic, bitchy, artsy type.

The funniest intro comes from Duncan Carmello (Jon Bernthal), who seems to be the only one to remember Ethan right off the bat. Maybe it's because he hasn't had too much on his mind over the years, since he is unemployed and still living with his mom.

Another classmate, Richie Velch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), actually preempts his suicide plans to attend the party. Kyle Lendo (Sean Maguire), who was every girl's first crush, now is living happily with his live-in boyfriend. Holly Ellenbogen (Lucy Punch) is happy in both her marriage (to an obviously gay man) and her career, as well as her decision to name her kid "Oprah." However, she wouldn't mind the opportunity to stick all of those things in Kyle's face. Sounds like as good of a reason to accept a party invitation. Nicole Allen (Andrea Anders from "Joey") is the unhappy trophy wife an ex-football star/BBQ grill spokesperson played by "An Officer and a Gentleman" star David Keith.

Confused yet? Sort of along the lines of "Lost" meets "Friends," this show has a huge cast of characters. It also has someone that is way too happy with the laugh-track button. Sure -- there are a few laughs, just not that many.

No surprise that Ritter is a likeable actor and he also delivers some of the funniest lines. However, his character also seems like a major wuss and hopefully someone at this party used to give him a regular recess beating -- and wouldn't mind reliving that memory.

Judging by future episodes, "The Class" doesn't try to make everyone a big happy family, but instead branches off into mini-sitcoms about the various characters and how some of them are intertwined. In other words, instead of adding on one show, it's many!

While I am not pooh-poohing putting the funny into topics such suicide, adultery, getting dumped, being gay or accidentally backing over your new love in a parking lot, I can't imagine that this format or its characters would appeal to too many people. Deemed as another possible "Friends" rip-off (or "How I Met Your Mother," which follows immediately after), it's doubtful that too many would want to give "The Class" a chance to improve its grades.

"The Class" premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. (EST) on CBS. -- Rachel Cericola

Posted by Rachel Cericola on September 18, 2006 2:29 PM
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