'Accidentally' is a middlin' comedy

TV review

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CBS's Monday night comedy block has been polarizing for several years. For as many people who like the shows, there are those who turn up their noses at them -- particularly "Two and a Half Men," due to its mildly racy content.

"The Big Bang Theory" -- from the same producers as "Men," incidentally -- has been a welcome anomaly, smart comedy that doesn't often descend into a morass of sex jokes. CBS's newest entry, "Accidentally on Purpose" (8:30 tonight, KDKA) lands somewhere between "Bang" and "Men," at least as far as raciness is concerned. It's not as funny as either of those hits -- and certainly not as good a show as the superior "Bang" -- but it is more enjoyable than "Rules of Engagement," which returns at mid-season (unfortunately).

Accidentally on Purpose'
  • When: 8:30 tonight, CBS.
  • Starring: Jenna Elfman.

"Accidentally" begins with San Francisco Telegraph movie critic Billie (Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg") flicking her nipples (through her shirt) to gain the attention of her former lover/boss (Grant Show, "Swingtown"). Failing that, she picks up a much younger one-night-stand, Zach (Jon Foster, "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh"), "second assistant to a semi-important sous-chef."

"It was like eating candy," Billie tells her sister and best friend the next morning. "I'm not kidding. He smelled like Skittles. I feel like I tasted the rainbow. The whole experience made me feel great about myself."

Five weeks later, Billie discovers she's pregnant and bemoans, "I broke my boy-toy!"

A viewer's willingness to laugh at the show probably correlates with how much they fuss about premarital sex. Aside from the opening scene, "Accidentally" is not particularly crass. It even has a few "awww" moments and some welcome second-banana work from Ashley Jensen, late of ABC's "Ugly Betty," as Billie's best friend.

Elfman plays a character more in keeping with her Dharma persona than the rigid lawyer she was cast as in 2006's short-lived sitcom "Courting Alex." But like that show, the concept for this series seems limited and with a built-in due date once the baby arrives. Conceptually, it feels more like a rom-com movie than an ongoing TV show.

Contact TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv .


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