Tonight was the premiere episode of ABC’s new Alyssa Milano sitcom Romantically Challenged. An unoriginal concept (newly divorced super quirky single mom navigates the dating world- hi Old Christine!) weighs this comedy down and its traditional format (3 cameras + laughtrack), cliched writing and uninspired cast (Alyssa, you’re really pretty but you were at your funniest opposite Tony Danza) do nothing to save it.
It’s not Alyssa Milano’s fault. She’s perfectly charming, if a little plastic, in a flatly written character. Josh Lawson’s Shawn and Kelly Stables’ Lisa are the most irritating cast members by far, little more than stereotypes of unlikable people.
If salvation is to be found anywhere, it’s in the character of Perry (Worst Week‘s Kyle Bornheimer), who proved not only tolerable but actively engaging. Perry has a distinct persona (though still sitcom-friendly in his simplicity) and a set of quirks that are neither irritating or boring. Though comparable to Old Christine‘s Matthew, Perry is a relatively unique character for TV and someone I could easily invest in. His storyline was the highlight of the episode, he had the only truly funny lines and his longstanding friendship actually made Alyssa Milano’s Rebecca more interesting by proxy.
If there’s one reason to watch what I’m sure will prove to be yet another short-lived mediocre standard sitcom, it’s Kyle Bornheimer’s promising character.