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Barry & Kiki Present: Harry’s Law Pilot

January 18, 2011

Barry Glibb and I are huge fans of Kathy Bates and reasonably huge fans of courtroom dramas. So when word came that David E. Kelley created a courtroom drama vehicle for Kathy Bates, you know we had to at least show up for the pilot. Now we’ve been down this road before with an exciting ‘sounding’ courtroom drama built around a likable lead and we were burned. so while there was anticipation, it was measured with a bit of restraint. After the jump, find out what we had to say about NBC’s legal drama Harry’s Law.

Barry Glibb: David E. Kelley presents The Wire 2. But way more fun
Kiki La Grange: And way less famous black people
Barry: Well, Damages took a few folks. I guess it was just Bunny.
Kiki: I’m struggling to get a handle on Brittany Snow. I realize every show needs a blond lady, but this is not the blond lady I’m looking for…
Barry: Yeah, she was sort of a…non-entity in this episode. And the compulsive liar dude teeters on annoying.
Kiki: And Dr. Romano
Barry: the brownnoser, that is
Barry: Leonard Betts
Kiki: I get that Kelley likes his characters to have “quirks” but I thought my audio was messed up.
Barry: I know, right? and it was inconsistent, like they couldn’t decide if it was a real tic or just an idiosyncrasy
Kiki: Yes. Though I laughed when Kathy told him his harshness made him look bald
Barry: Having said all that, I pretty much loved everything that came out of Kathy Bates’s mouth. YES! that line was awesome. I thought, oh snap, that writer watches Damages.
Kiki: Ha !Kathy Bates is making this show work with spitshine and polish because nothing else about it does.
Barry: She is building a masterpiece from popsicle sticks and paste. She even made the line about whether the shoes made her feet look fat work.
Kiki: I know, right. The female Hackman should not have to work this hard.

Barry: Also, Cincinnatti? Really?
Barry: Did the Ohio Tourism Board invest in Culver City? Is that why we have Hot in Cleveland and now this?
Kiki: Cincinnati is the new Vancouver! How did she say those lines. There were some real dogs. And some of the set ups were dogs too
Barry: I was LOLing at the remix of Jefferson’s Movin’ On Up. Kelly didn’t reach very far down into the idea barrel for that one.
Kiki: I KNOW! Trying to flip the script on that one. It worked. Kelley does have a gift, but NBC still doesn’t know how to build a show around a charismatic, talent lead. Lest we forget Suddenly Susan
Barry: The courtroom speechifying made me feel all warm and fuzzy, remembering my earnest early days watching the first season of Picket Fences. But I don’t know how they can lay it on so thick from week to week. Or rather, how they’ll sustain it.
Kiki: Hahah. I bet Costas Mandylor is available.
Barry: He could be a judge now! Speaking of, I thought of the Fry Butter judge piece – Kelly decided to mix it up just a little.
Kiki: Ha! I see you, black judge! I agree. Kelley’s other shows have rarely depended on the courtroom antics to sustain viewers. Harry’s Law is going to need more characters if it’s going to rise or sink to Boston Legal or Ally McBeal. Just waiting to see if Anthony Heald will make an appearance as snotty judge

Barry: Kathy Baker should show up too, and confuse us all reading the credits.
Kiki: Ha. As her lover.
Barry: YES
Kiki: Because c’mon, Harry better not trying to front like she’s straight. Make with the ladyfriend, Kelley!
Barry: Her ex-flame that comes back for a fling. I wish one of the running gags was instead of a new secretary every week, she’d have a new girlfriend. The secret lesbian ring of Ohio.
Kiki: Ooh. I like that.
Barry: I mean, c’mon, ladies love a power lesbian.
Kiki: But you’ve hit on something. The show needs a running joke. Those shoes aren’t going to cut it for much longer.
Barry: Yeah, I don’t even exactly get why Harry’s assistant followed her there. There were lots of symptoms of Pilot’s Disease, as far as winding up all the toys and putting them into place.

Kiki: I’m still trying to figure out why Cincinnati looks like a soundstage.
Barry: I’ve been to Cincinnati and I’ve been to the Warner Brothers set and I can tell you which place they were!
Kiki: I’m always suspicious when the camera stays tight on the buildings and never show the skyline. Harry’s Law kind of looks like Sesame Street.
Barry: SHUT UP! I WAS JUST TYPING THAT I know I mentioned the Fisher Price Main Street once already today, but damn, that’s what it was like. I love that they had to tell us it was a rough neighborhood four times
Kiki: I guess that explains why we couldn’t tell it was a rough ‘hood.
Barry: Because it didn’t really look it.
Kiki: it looked like a nice street to me
Barry: yes! I was like, oh, they’re in the Village? Park Slope?
Kiki: Vancouver? Next door to Angela Bassett and Robert Deniro’s lovenest in The Score

Kiki: But you gotta love Kelley for going retro. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a black street thug on a show I forgot that we do commit crimes. I’ve been watching Dick Wolf and Fontana too long! (editor’s note: Kiki is black!)
Barry: Ha! I was just reading that 11 million people watched, which isn’t bad considering the lead-in was The Cape.
Kiki: I read a headline stating, “Harry’s Law’ ratings are on trial.” Ouch!
Barry: from wikipedia: ” Comparably, this was NBC’s largest non-Olympic total-viewer result in the time period since Sept. 14, 2009 with the failed Jay Leno Show. ”
Kiki: Why do networks still think they’re going to do OJ low speed chase or MASH finale numbers in 2011?
Barry: oh no, they said J__ L___ Show! that’s a curse!
Kiki: Ha. Becker, Evening Shade… the snarky comparisons are endless.
Barry: You said Evening Shade. The second that came out on dvd I put it on the top of the queue. But I didn’t make it past the first disc!
Barry: should we bet on how much the rating will drop on week two? over/under?
Kiki: 7mil by the third episode. I think Harry’s Law will do much better than Outlaw
Barry: wait, is that still on?
Kiki: Ha. No it’s gone. NBC is almost as quick as ABC to pull a show
Barry: I know, it’s like damn, the episodes are already paid for, go ahead and air it a little longer.
Kiki: I agree. I also don’t know why NBC expects to get big numbers in this fragmented viewing landscape. NBC should fix their streaming capabilities; their shit is all jacked up and janky.
Barry: midseason replacements seem to get a chance to run all the way to the end more often. at least in my mind.
Kiki: Yeah because there’s nothing left on the bench.

The Verdict The Jury’s still out on Harry’s Law, which boasts the incomparable talents of Kathy Bates, but suffers from a lack of strong supporting players. None of the current supporting actors or characters seem fresh or appealing. Brittany Snow is given a supportive role, which seems based entirely around the fact she’s a pretty blond. And the other two supporting players don’t really seem sure of what they’re supposed to be doing. But the show is slated to run on Mondays at 10pm, a slot that has been decent at keeping quality – though less popular with the right demo groups – fare on the air for a respectable run. The good news is that Harry’s Law is a departure for Kelley, whose oeuvre of legal dramas have even his children pleading with him not to make another, is a fun, likable show. However, the bad news is the dramatic departure comes with a slide in quality which might leave some fans seeking Kelley style legal dramas from his existing body of work.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2011 12:54 am

    you have done again, I didn’t give two shits about this show till I read “the female Hackman” and blew coffee out of my nose all over my laptop.

  2. January 19, 2011 9:15 am

    I really enjoyed every time Kathy Bates talked but I was annoyed by almost every other character on the show. Was that judge the bus driver from Everwood? I worry so much about this show being on NBC because I feel like it could be really good… but NBC will mess that up somehow.

    • January 19, 2011 9:39 am

      That is John Beasley! Good eye.

      I am like you, I would watch Kathy Bathes read google search returns for 44 minutes, so as long as she’s in EVERY scene, I’ll keep watching. No pressure, Bates.

  3. January 19, 2011 11:21 am

    I am hoping the show finds its footing within the next couple of episodes. There’s promise, but they are going to need to “shore” up those supporting characters and get some more engaging clients.

  4. January 19, 2011 11:46 am

    Nate Corddry gets more annoying every time I see him. I think his character needs to be less of a Pee Wee Herman and more of an Alex Keaton.

  5. January 19, 2011 1:20 pm

    Kathy Bates needs to fire her staff and hire Alan Shore.

  6. Max permalink
    February 15, 2011 7:03 am

    This show is fucking awful. My wife likes it. Your play-by-play was better than any of the writing on the show.

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