With The Bachelor done for the year and Dancing with the Stars nearing the end of its season, ABC is introducing a revamped Monday lineup tonight. Samantha Who? moves up half an hour to 9 p.m., followed by the season premiere of Notes From The Underbelly at 9:30. October Road will hold down the 10 p.m. slot. (Dance Wars, the Dancing with the Stars spinoff, will take over the 8 p.m. hour in January.)
Being paired with Samantha Who?, the season's one true breakout comedy, should give Notes a lift for its second season. I was utterly ambivalent about the show when it premiered last spring, but I did like the performances of Jennifer Westfeldt and Peter Cambor as the couple preparing for their first child, and I always got a kick out of Rachael Harris as the single-and-fabulous Cooper — though I wished she'd gotten more to do in the episodes I watched. Did any of you stick with it?
Meanwhile, October Road gets another chance tonight to prove it can hold down a time slot after its dismal ratings last Thursday. Maybe people were confused that ABC promoted that episode as a "sneak peek" and tonight's episode as the season premiere; I know I was.
To watch promos for both the Notes premiere and tonight's October Road, just read more
I'm utterly ambivalent about ABC's new comedy, "Notes From the Underbelly," which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. before moving to its regular Wednesday time slot. And maybe that's appropriate, because the show is about the utter ambivalence its main characters feel toward having a child. Based on a novel by Risa Green, the show focuses on Andrew (Peter Cambor) and Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt), who want to have a baby before it's too late, then — after quickly getting pregnant — immediately decide it's too soon.
"Notes" isn't terrible; there were a lot of moments I liked in the first three episodes, and it's amusing, if not laugh-out-loud funny. But overall, the show seems flat, with one-dimensional supporting characters and jokes that don't quite hit the mark.
The best part about "Notes" is the central couple, who view parenthood with a mix of curiosity, excitement and total dread. Lauren is by far the show's most interesting character, mocking her pregnant friends' over-the-top doting while longing, at least a little, to be one of those moms herself. But "Notes" falls apart with its stereotypical supporting characters, so read more