TV Review: 'Ex-List' loses bid for broad appeal
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This fall a raft of foreign formats have been adapted for American TV, including CBS's "Worst Week" (from England), ABC's "Life on Mars" (from England), NBC's "Kath & Kim" (from Australia) and CBS's "The Ex-List" (from Israel). Some translate more easily than others.
Despite a poor job of establishing its characters and their relationships (wait, those two aren't a couple?), "The Ex-List" begins with a strong, romantic premise: A psychic tells thirtysomething Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser) that she's already dated the man she's destined to be with, but if she doesn't marry him within a year, she'll be alone forever.
- Starring: Elizabeth Reaser.
- When: 9 p.m. Friday, CBS.
Episodes will follow Bella's search through her past romance Rolodex, a premise ripe for broad appeal with women. But the show is only interested in younger women, judging by the alleged jokes about the grooming of Bella's friend's private parts. And it's not just one joke, there's running commentary. I wasn't offended -- nor did I find it particularly funny -- but heaven knows plenty of viewers will be put off, so why risk that in the opening hour of what could be a cute show with broad female appeal?
The rest of the episode is a bit of a predictable slog as Bella sees signs everywhere and begins dating an emotionally unstable ex she first knew in 2001. There are some amusing bits of dialogue, but none of the show's pieces add up to a cohesive whole.
Diane Ruggiero ("That's Life") adapted the series for CBS but has since left the show, claiming network executives pushed her to make "Ex-List" too much like the Israeli version that ran for just 11 half-hours.
As the lead, Reaser, best known from her stint on "Grey's Anatomy" as Jane Doe, is fine, but she doesn't light up the screen. Rachel Boston ("American Dreams") as Bella's sister is far more vivacious and fun to watch.
First Published October 2, 2008 12:00 am