Florangela Davila's TV Picks
A show to remember, and a Hugh letdown
What to watch during those seemingly long breaks in between "30 Rock" and "Reaper" episodes — two shows that actually make you laugh...
Seattle Times TV writer
What to watch during those seemingly long breaks in between "30 Rock" and "Reaper" episodes — two shows that actually make you laugh out loud? How about daffy Christina Applegate in the promising new "Samantha Who?" (9:30 p.m. Mondays on KOMO/ABC).
Applegate stars as Samantha Newly, a hit-and-run victim who emerges from a coma with retrograde amnesia. Which makes her, well, completely clueless: about her prior bitchy ways, her parents, her love life, her dietary quirks. Does she like carrot cake? Hmm. Better stuff a piece in her mouth and see.
Applegate, a master of physical comedy, plays such helplessness wonderfully in this what-if-you-could-reinvent-yourself show. But what keeps the comedy riding high — as opposed to some of the other less-than-stellar ("Carpoolers") freshmen fare — is the supporting cast: Jean Smart, who proved a terrific doped-up first lady on "24," plays Applegate's mom, Regina. She sees a chance to snag an "Extreme Home Makeover" by videotaping her comatose daughter.
Melissa McCarthy, sweet chef Sookie on "Gilmore Girls," plays sweet, needy Dena, supposedly Samantha's best friend. And Jennifer Esposito, most recently seen taking on Tommy Gavin in "Rescue Me," plays Samantha's real best friend, Andrea ("Ahn-dree-ah"). She's as naughty as Dena is nice, and watching her try to return Samantha to her former, conceited self is a hoot.
In a future episode, as Samantha discovers what she actually does for a living, she confesses about wanting a job in which she's actually helping "the little people."
Andrea: "What little people? The dwarves? The dwarves are fine."
Also fine but, alas, lacking enough Hugh Jackman to get me to tune in: "Viva Laughlin," which debuts in a special 10 p.m. Thursday (KIRO/CBS) time slot before moving to 8 p.m. Sundays, starting Oct. 21.
Show creators earlier this summer swore their show, about the Laughlin, Nev., casino business, is not a musical. But hey, some of us adore the genre, and what else to call a show in which the actors suddenly break out into song?
Multitalented Jackman (who won a Tony for his stage role in "The Boy From Oz") shows off his musical prowess as sexy casino bigwig Nicky Fontana. In the pilot he sings and dances to "Sympathy For The Devil," at one point grooving atop a roulette table. Yes, I could watch this one scene again and again. Woo hoo.
But first arrives Lloyd Owen channeling Elvis (tolerable enough). And then struts in Melanie Griffith, looking like an entirely different kind of working girl, in a negligee, singing a Blondie song, and all I could hear was myself saying: Too much Botox or whatever chemical it is that gets pumped into someone's lips. Holy moly.
Pull a "Cavemen" and tune in, gawk and then move on. Quick.
Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.