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TV Review: The New Adventures Of Old Christine – “The Passion Of The Christine”

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May 14, 1998 must have been a sad day for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. NBC had offered Jerry Seinfeld a ton of money for him to do another season of his hit sitcom months before that date. He refused, and Seinfeld ended.

“Oh, Jerry will think of something?” she possibly said in her Elaine Benice voice. He never did, and so was left on her own to make a name for herself.

She first attempted another sitcom four years after Seinfeld ended (Watching Ellie) which was created by her husband, Brad Hall. The idea was that you’d essentially follow 22 minutes of Elaine Benice (here named Ellie), in real-time. That was a nice try considering the year before, Kiefer Sutherland was doing the exact same thing, but with a gun and 24 hours to spare.

Fast forward to The New Adventures Of Old Christine, which premiered earlier this year. Now Elaine (now called Christine Campbell) runs a girl’s gym and is a divorced mom with a dysfunctional brother as a roommate.

The second season opener shows Christine taking her son back to school for fourth grade, with Blair Underwood guest starring as the new teacher. Attractive and poised, Christine along with the resident stay-at-home moms (Trisha O’Kelley and Alex Kapp Horner) with whome she banters, find themselves attracted to the new guy.

When Christine’s son Ritchie (Trevor Gagnon) mentions that his mother got back with her ex-husband Richard (Clark Gregg) over the summer, she has to deal with whether or not she still has feelings for him. Meanwhile, Matthew (Hamish Linklater) complains about Richard’s habits. New Christine (Emily Rutherfurd) apparently broke up with Richard last season and she understandably isn’t in this episode.

Hamish Linklater’s Matthew seems awfully familiar to me, perhaps because there’s a more extreme version of his character on The Class (which is on CBS as well). Trevor Gagnon plays the usual cute kid who thinks he’s funny. Clark Gregg plays Jim Belushi-lite with the character of Richard, while Trisha O’Kelley and Alex Kapp Horner could have been mistaken for the two old guys from the original Muppets show.

As for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, there’s no one co-star that can bounce off of her rather annoying Christine character. At least when she was on Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus had someone to shut her up. Here, she’s allowed to be babbling and bumbling without anyone there to really stick it to her.

Perhaps Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus could make their own live-action Superfriends show. It would be hella funny, and better than this show ever hopes to be.

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About Matthew Milam

  • Milos William Baldo Dobroslavic

    Elaine used to be funny when she had writing talent feeding her lines, but now she seems to be inventing what she thinks is funny — it isn’t — out of thin air. Elly found out a a stuffed toilet was not in the least bit funny, and the new Julia D-L thinks she invented Elaine Benes. What about that droopy drawers hairdo? Give us a break, Julia, please, go home.