Life With Bonnie

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

The season's just starting, but looks like we alredy have a strong contender for "Worst Individual Scene." The opening "comedy" sequence of Life With Bonnie is horrible. Really horrible. Everyone's overslept! One of the kids is pretending to be sick! Dad can't find his shoes! Mom's sweather is too tight! The wacky maid is nowhere to be found! Mom falls down while having the kids stretch her sweater! Funny!

I've been hearing for months now that ABC's stated policy for the fall season is to produce an unwavering slate of MOR, thoroughly unoffensive, complete familiar programming, but I wasn't really prepared to see it quite yet. This opening segment makes Dharma and Greg or Mad About You seem edgy and avant-garde. It's trite, clichéd, and extraordinarily unfunny.

Which is why I was very surprised when I found myself laughing out loud five minutes later. After the painful family comedy sequences, we get to see Bonnie (yes, this is one of those shows in which everyone seems to use their real first name) hosting her morning talk show. I read that this show was developed around this premise, and it's really a shame they didn't keep to their initial focus better. The talk show bits, from what I've read, are largely improvised and feel like a talk show gone awry. The guests quickly become drunk; Bonnie makes fun of them; the sidekick disappears. All-in-all, it feels like a good talk show segment. Not one of the vaguely interesting celebrity interviews, but one of the "Johnny laughing at a human figure with an axe in its crotch" bits. It's a good premise, and I'd be perfectly happy to just watch that for a half-hour.

But throughout the genuinely entertaining morning show, they cut back to the family comedy bits. One of the children and his friend are forced by the maid to fold clothing. "I think we're going to be late for school," sez one. "That depends on how good we are at ironing," replies the other. Man, this is painful stuff.

And it doesn't get any better. Instead of sticking with the morning show, we get Bonnie on a date with her husband and a boring doctor couple. She doesn't like socializing with them! They fight! Funny. I suppose bickering counts as entertainment these days (at least juding by the success of Everybody Loves Raymond and its ilk), but this is witless, dull, annoying bickering. Then there's some schmaltz. Just what this show needed.

Overall, the show has promise. One can only hope that post-pilot retooling focused on increasing the improv talk show bits. And perhaps they could remove some of the children. Especially the one that looks like Bruce Davison. Seeing a three foot tall Bruce Davison man-child is not something I need to see on a semi-regular basis.

Rating: C- (1/3 Good, 2/3 Aggressively Bad)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
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The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

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13 Going On 30

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quirkyalone.net

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A Minute with Stan Hooper

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Stop All the World Now

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Lost In Translation

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Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

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L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

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Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides