Picks and Pans Review: Watching Ellie
Last year's version of this sitcom was most notable for the digital clock in a corner of the screen. It was there to tell viewers that each episode depicted exactly 22 minutes in the life of cabaret singer Ellie Riggs (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The series returns April 15 without the time gimmick and without much reason for being.
In the season premiere, Ellie discovers that boyfriend Ben (Darren Boyd) will be dining with another woman at a romantic restaurant. So she asks Edgar (Steve Carell), her obnoxious ex, to escort her there for the purpose of making Ben jealous. It's a depressingly trite situation that's not redeemed by messy bursts of physical comedy. A future episode has an equally hackneyed premise—Ellie tries to impress a rival vocalist by falsely claiming to have a fancy gig—but it takes a funny turn when she winds up singing in the subway to scrounge a few bucks. Reason to hope? Maybe. But in both episodes there's a stridency to Dreyfus's work that smacks of desperation. She seems to be laboring to turn a so-so show into the I Love Lucy of the 21st century.
BOTTOM LINE: Not a must-watch