TV Week: No good answers for '100 Questions'
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May sweeps ends Wednesday and with it the 2009-10 television season. And you know what that means: Bring on the duds.
Actually, this summer there will be more scripted series than usual as some broadcast networks make an effort to compete with original summer programming on cable. We'll write about those shows in the coming weeks, but first up we have a traditional network cast-off, NBC's "100 Questions" (9:30 p.m. Thursday, WPXI).
This multicamera sitcom already had its episode order cut from 13 to six, which is not a decision network executives make when they think they have a hit on their hands.
"100 Questions" centers on Charlotte Payne (Sophie Winkleman), one of five friends living in New York. The show's structure is a bit like "How I Met Your Mother" with the debut episode beginning with Charlotte meeting a dating counselor (Michael Benjamin Washington), who needs her to answer 100 questions, one at the start of each episode. He suggests that in the end she'll find a soulmate. She hesitates.
- When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday, NBC.
- Starring: Sophie Winkleman.
"When your dad has four ex-soulmates and your mom has three, it does make you question the whole concept," Charlotte says.
The first question takes Charlotte back to why she's using a dating service. At a Yankees game, Rick (guest star Joe Manganiello, a Mt. Lebanon native), the guy she's been dating for three months, proposes marriage. Charlotte says no. The proposal is broadcast on the stadium's JumboTron and then the diss gets posted to YouTube and Charlotte acquires a nasty nickname, "the Yankee [rhymes-with-witch]."
Her friends rally around and play assorted games with the ring, while the guys challenge one another to make bad pickup lines sing. Sincere, uncool Mike (Chris Moynihan, who also created "100 Questions") fails at every turn while smooth-talking Wayne (David Walton, "quarterlife") makes the women melt.
Like ABC's recent "Romantically Challenged," "100 Questions" fails to distinguish its characters much in its initial outing beyond the most rudimentary types: romance-minded lead, cool guy, not-so-hip guy, blond wisecracker (Collette Wolfe) and less secure friend (Smith Cho).
They're a bland bunch of characters who say mildly amusing things -- there's a pretty good riff on Mary Poppins -- in occasionally funny situations, but in the end, "100 Questions" does not cry out to be added to any DVR lineup.
That's why there's no question NBC made the right decision to burn off the episodes produced during the low-viewing summer months.
First Published May 23, 2010 12:00 am