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TV Preview: The Class

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I have had the pleasure of seeing the first three episodes of The Class. For better or worse, it is the new series from creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik. You may recognize Crane's name, as he was one of the creators of sitcom juggernaut Friends. His new series stars Jason Ritter (Joan of Arcadia), Lizzy Caplan, and a host of others.

After those three episodes, I am not sure I can see myself watching more. The laughs are sparse, the laugh track is heavy, and I found myself watching in disbelief. The Class is all setup and no execution.

Okay, follow me for a minute. Jason Ritter is Ethan, an overly nice guy who dotes on his fiancee without end. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their meeting in the third grade, he starts calling everyone from their class to throw a big reunion party. His cold calling these people, who are now all strangers, does not hold much promise. However, he does get a few to show up, a disparate bunch if there ever was one.

Are you still with me? Among the people who show up are twin sisters with opposite attitudes, a construction worker who lives with his mom, a depressed guy who was about to commit suicide, and a woman who married a former NFL star, but actually holds a crush for construction guy. Oh yeah, there is the woman who was dumped by her classmate boyfriend at prom, after discovering he was gay, and married an effeminate man — who may be gay. I wonder how many more clichés they could have crammed in there.

Of course, the party doesn't go as planned, but it does kick off a number of new people combinations. So off the show goes, juggling stories and relationships at a fast and furious pace. The problem is, with so many people involved, in so many different locations, none of them get much screen time.

What we end up with is a completely ludicrous setup, too many characters, too many locations, and not enough time. I don't really see this one lasting long, unless it starts getting better after the third episode.

I would be lying if I said I didn't like parts of it. I like the cynical twin, the love loving twin is kinda goofy, and I like the building tension between Ethan and cynical twin. That's about it. If you're expecting a new Friends, this isn't it.

The series premieres on CBS on September 18, 2006 at 8:00PM.

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