The ABC show Samantha Who? came to an abrupt end after its second season. It’s unfortunate because the show was actually very good. The show is about a woman, Samantha, who suffers from amnesia following a car accident. Samantha can’t remember anything about herself before the accident and must rediscover herself and find a new direction in life.
Samantha lives in a nice Chicago apartment with her ex-boyfriend Todd (Barry Watson). They are platonic, but it’s clear Todd still has feelings for her. Along with Todd, Samantha also interacts with her two best friends Dena (Melissa McCarthy) and Andrea (Jennifer Esposito), and her parents (Jean Smart and Kevin Dunn). Not knowing what she was like before, Samantha has a clean slate with everyone – at least in her mind she does. It’s implied that Samantha wasn’t the nicest person before the accident, and she slowly discovers this as random memories pop into her mind.
As Samantha, Christina Applegate is very funny and endearing. She switches from the new (and good) Samantha to the bad, cold-hearted Samantha, in the flashback memories, with ease. Barry Watson is also very good as her ex-boyfriend Todd. Todd is like any normal person in that sometimes he’s funny and charming and sometimes there doesn’t seem to be much going on. I like that the character is fairly low key a lot of the time. Samantha’s friends were more caricatures, each representing Samantha’s good and bad side. Dena, the good one, could be a bit annoying in her boisterousness, but in the end she was a good opposite to Andrea. Andrea, the “bad” friend, was a bit over the top. Her character never really changed and mostly spent time being superficial (I know underneath it all she actually was nice).
One of the highlights of the season was when Samantha dated an environmentalist. The relationship spanned several episodes and featured Samantha attempting to live a “green” lifestyle. In the process she subjects Todd to low-flow showerheads, and hilariously “calls in sick” when she tires of being environmental and opts for shopping instead of cleaning a park. The story arc of the season is Samantha’s relationship with Todd. Will she choose him or will she go back with her former boyfriend (and boss) Winston Funk (Billy Zane)?
An aspect of the show I could have done without is Andrea’s relationship with Tony Dane the basketball player. While there were a few funny moments, like when Samantha tries to convince Andrea Dane is gay, the storyline ended up being a bit over the top. The show works best when it deals with Samantha and her quest to find herself.
It’s a shame Samantha Who? got canceled. The writing was clever, the acting and characters were good, and the show was funny. The show is well worth picking up on DVD. This set includes three unaired episodes, bloopers, deleted scenes, and a set tour with Christina Applegate.