The Rule of One: Drop Dead Diva, Ruby & The Rockets

The following appeared as a segment on The Outland Institute on 24 July, 2009. If you’d like to hear this sort of thing live then tune in to Joy 94.9 every Friday at midday AEST.

One of the things I love about doing television reviews on the Outland Institute is what I like to call the rule of one. One episode is enough to judge an entire series.

This week I’ve seen the first episode of two new shows from the US. Drop Dead Diva and Ruby and the Rockits.

I can easily and quickly cover off on Drop Dead Diva. If David E. Kelly known for Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal and marrying Michelle Pfeiffer, took an overdose of oestrogen, the product pumped from his stomach would be Drop Dead Diva.

An aspiring Price is Right model (and no, I’m not making this up) dies in a car crash at the same time that a fat and clumsy but talented lawyer spills hot coffee on her blouse and subsequently gets shot (and I’m still not making this up). The model manipulates her way out of limbo but ends up in the lawyer’s body. Everybody learns a lesson and fried food tastes good.

Margaret Cho co-stars in this one but its almost like they cast her because Sandra Oh is too famous now. She is in no way used to her comic potential. The role just seems so generic. She plays the best-friend/assistant of the fat lawyer.

Then there’s Ruby and the Rockits, a traditional 3 camera sitcom or laffer. David Cassidy stars, as does Patrick Cassidy. It’s produced by Shaun Cassidy. If that’s not enough “where are they now” for you, then it’s also directed by Ted Wass, aka the Dad from Blossom.

David Cassidy plays David Gallagher, a has-been rocker doing a residency at an Indian casino. A girl comes into the venue and introduces herself as his daughter from his time on the road. He takes this at face value and takes the girl, whose mother has recently died, to his brother Patrick’s house. Yes, they are using their real first names. How original.

Patrick’s family also accepts this story of a long-lost orphaned daughter and agrees to let her live in their house. That’s the premise and no, I’m not making any of this up. No paternity test, no questioning; Ruby’s story is entirely accepted at face value.

Ruby and the Rockits dispenses with any of that unnecessary and tiresome suspension-of-disbelief rubbish that other TV shows require for plausibility. In fact, it throws any sense of plausibility out the window. It’s not important. Neither, apparently, is writing jokes.

RatR slso stars Alexa Vega, who was the sister in the Spy Kids series. I mean, really, what did I do in a past life that all of these people would return to haunt me in such a terrifying manner?

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