September TV Feature: The Kid Who Failed Last Year

The Kid Who Failed Last Year: Jake In Progress, ABC, mid-season Monday, timeslot T.B.D.

Despite a dismal showing as a mid-season replacement the John Stamos comedy, Jake In Progress returns for another shot. Of all the programming decisions made by the major networks this one raised the most eyebrows. ABC had a great year in 2004-2005 thanks to freshman dramas Lost and Desperate Housewives. I hope this success didn’t do go to their head. The network has, in my opinion, yet to put out a solid sitcom in several years.

Currently Jake in Progress has been slotted in to return to the schedule in January 2006 on Monday nights after the NFL season ends. The fact it was not given a prime spot in the ABC order means that while Stamos is getting another shot, they would rather give Freddie Prinze Jr. a September start. (Although it wouldn’t be surprising if Prinze’s comedy gets canned before November and replaced by Jake).

At some point one has to ask yourself how does Stamos do it? I mean the guy was married to one of the hottest girls on Earth, Rebecca Romijn, (sure that ended in March but he got nearly 7 years with that hottie). Their relationship was almost as baffling as the whole David Copperfield-Claudia Schiffer affair. The guy got to tour with the Beach Boys and was part of one of the more successful comedy shows, Full House, in recent years.

If one were the jealous/bitter type one might hold a grudge against John Stamos for having, what appears to be, an awesome life based solely on the fact he played Uncle Jessie in Full House. Now after getting a second chance in the sitcom realm with Jake in Progress, he is essentially being given a third chance as ABC stands behind Stamos’s show while better shows get cancelled. It’s like that rich kid in high school who, after crashing their new Porsche, gets daddy to buy him a newer and better Porsche.

You know what though? Good for him. Somehow he has managed to eek out a career with limited talent. Will Jake in Progress succeed after being both a ratings and critics flop last year? Probably not. Stranger things have happened.

Some of the best comedies took a few years to hit their stride. Seinfeld and Cheers were not ratings hits right off the bat. Admittedly I don’t think Jake in Progress will be a hit like those two shows. But who am I to judge? Lately the mass taste of comedies baffles me.

Shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and Two and a Half Men are crappy shows that get good ratings whereas Arrested Development teeters on the brink of cancellation because no one is watching it.

I know I won’t be watching Jake in Progress when it comes back on. Sorry, it is up against 24 and there is no way I am going to choose Stamos over Sutherland. But America loves a comeback so perhaps The Kid Who Failed Last Year will come out with A’s this year.