TV Review: Premiere shows shotgun beginning for 'Wedding Bells'
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The timing is certainly right for Fox's "The Wedding Bells" (previews at 9 tonight, WPGH): It's a light bubbly show, and viewers clearly crave that type of program given the success of "Ugly Betty" and the failure of all the dark-themed shows last fall.Art Streiber/Fox
KaDee Strickland, left, Teri Polo and Sarah Jones are "The Wedding Bells," sisters who run a wedding business, in the Fox dramedy produced by David E. Kelley.
Click photo for larger image.
'The Wedding Bells'
Starring: Teri Polo.
So it's a shame that after tonight's preview Fox will ship this cute wisp of a series to the death zone of 9 p.m. Friday.
The pilot, executive-produced and written by David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal"), introduces viewers to the three Bell sisters, who have taken over The Wedding Palace in Great Neck, N.Y., after their parents' divorce.
Annie (KaDee Strickland) is the oldest and most emotionally constipated; Jane (Teri Polo, "Meet the Fockers") is the most proper and married to rigid husband Russell (Benjamin King), who prefers to schedule sex; Sammy (Sarah Jones) is the young trampy one.
In tonight's pilot, Jane's character gets the most in-depth treatment (Sammy seems like an after-thought) as she fends off the flirtations of a chef (Costas Mandylor from Kelley's "Picket Fences"). Annie deals with her feelings for ex-boyfriend David (Michael Landes), the wedding photographer. The Bells' company also employs a wedding singer (Chris Williams).
My only gripe with "The Wedding Bells" is that the guest characters are more interesting than the series regulars. Delta Burke (who's had a recurring role this season on Kelley's "Boston Legal") plays the mother of a bride and describes herself as "an acquired taste." Her daughter is marrying a Jewish man, and Mama bribes the Bells to work the name "Jesus" into the ceremony twice.
"The man's a savior," she says. "He deserves a mention."
The daughter, Amanda (Missi Pyle), is a bridezilla who steals the premiere episode with her overly negative, demanding ways and wedding jitters.
Kelley must have recognized her value to the show: She's been added to the regular cast and returns in future episodes having somehow acquired a stake in The Wedding Palace.
While Pyle steals the show, the always reliable Polo makes a favorable impression, but the whole affair seems more slapped together than most Kelley pilots, probably because it was: Production began in early January.
A show can recover from a stumbling, slightly uncertain start, but that Friday night time slot might portend a premature funeral for "The Wedding Bells."
First Published March 7, 2007 12:00 am