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Worst Week episode reviews

Worst Week, Kyle Bornheimer, Erinn Hayes, Nancy Lenehan, Kurtwood Smith

Episode 1. "Pilot" I laughed a lot at this one. Right from the start I was chuckling, but by the end I was in peals of laughter. Sam is a likable hero in the middle of some crazy bad luck. The writers stretch things a lot to make some of the comedy work (like when the dad lay down in the undertakers) but the results are very funny. Based on this first outing, I'm prepared to stick around for the rest of the 'week'.

Episode 1. "Pilot" I watched it again a second time and I laughed almost as much this time out. As the oddest of disasters befall him Kyle Bornheimer has a great way of reacting to it. His sense of "really? this is what's going to happen now" makes him into a very likable hero. Methinks, I'll be sticking with this one for the long haul.

Episode 1. "Pilot" Aside from the great wacky events, this show appears to have a great cast. I love how Erinn Hayes plays her reactions to everything. Playful and bemused. I love the fact that her character is supportive of her boyfriend through the chaos. Kurtwood Smith is wonderful for giving us another stern character who is notch down from Red (on That '70s Show) but still formidable. Nancy Lenehan (when I think about it) gets some of the funniest moments/lines in the whole pilot. Her early scene with her daughter, her yelling at Sam for 'killing' husband and - finally - her hilarious attack on Sam when she thinks he is dragging her husband's body around the house. Great, great cast.

Episode 2. "The Bird" Not as funny as the opener, but still very good. The situations are not as strained - which is good - and you have to feel for poor Sam. He does tend to make some bad decisions, but it's understandable and some of his bad luck is horrific. Highlights? The bird in his pocket giving the illusion of an erection, and the dog that keeps returning with dead bird that Sam has thrown away.

Episode 3. "The Monitor" Nick Kroll joins the cast as Sam's friend - Adam - called in to fix the painting damaged in episode 1. Each episode tends to be a lot less funny than the one before it, but the show continues to be ingenious and Sam is still a likable (if very unlucky) hero. Kroll is a standout and so is RonReaco Lee as Melanie's brother who - at one stage - wakes to find Sam standing over him with a pillow. Having written off all of Sam's previous attempts to - as it appears - kill him, he finally freaks out when he sees this. Very funny.

Episode 4. "The Truck" Sam continues to be a really likable hero, and this episode highlights both him as an outsider (to the family) and a part of a strong team with Melanie. The previous episode introduced his buddy (who is likewise cursed with bad luck and the ability to do things that hurt/annoy Dick) and this episode adds his nemesis to the mix. In the form of Chad, the annoying son-in-law who can do no wrong in the eyes of Dick. The early part of the episode shows us the family all together for the first time after the arrival of Chad. And what an annoying little bunch they are. Watching all this (and totally bemused by it all) is our hero and (most importantly) his girlfriend. Sam and Melanie form a very distinct team in this outing and the bad luck that befalls poor Sam is really the bad luck that befalls both of them. Watching this episode you can see that they are a good couple and you can understand why they are compatible and why they love one another.

The story is well told and the big joke at the end (the explosion that destroys Dick's truck) is extremely well set-up. Information about the underside of the truck getting very hot is given to us in a very funny slapstick sequence, while the piling up of the leaves is done in a way that draws no great attention to the act itself. This makes the final explosion all the more unexpected and all the more funny. A really great episode.

Episode 5. "The Club" moves the story of Sam and The Claytons forward one month. And it does so with a jolt. I had assumed that we would actually get to see the night of Dick's Birthday, since the show had spend four episodes building towards it. Not the case. Did CBS skip an episode, I wonder? It seems strange that we don't get to see the havoc that Sam must surely have caused on the big night...

Never mind, jolts aside this is a fun episode. The show teams Sam and Dick on a mission for the first time with enjoyable results. At this stage in the run, several things are a given in the world of Sam Briggs: crazy bad luck, and well-meaning lies causing things to spiral out of control. This time out, Sam's white lie about his wedding being cancelled ends up causing the wedding party to lose the place they had booked for it. He and his future father-in-law try to get it back, while his future mother attempts to stall Melanie with some... well-meaning lies that soon spiral out of control.

Episode 6. "The Ring" The baby swallows the ring, Mel hates her dress and Dick's mother arrives.

Lots to like here. The episode opens with great chemistry between Kyle Bornheimer and Erinn Hayes and the episode that follows - once again - highlights Sam and Mel as a united team in the face of all that the world throws at them.

Nancy Lenehan gets several funny scenes, reacting to the presence of Olympia Dukakis as Dick's mean mother. Lenehan's a hoot.

Sam manages to do a lot of things right in this episode. He bonds with Dick over the fighting women, he sticks up for Angela, he destroys the wedding dress (making Mel insanely happy) and he is able to get the family to mend broken fences. It's all very enjoyable, but is the show's premise slipping away at this stage?

Episode 7. "The Vows" There are two problems with this episode. It starts off with an unlikely premise: our hero decided to wear his girlfriend's panties to ward off bad luck. And in the end everyone is much too nice to him when everything goes wrong. There's no edge any more.

Episode 8. "The Cake" Sam and Mel make a great team. I enjoy the moments where they work together against everybody else and you get the feeling that she is almost as dogged by bad luck as he is. This episode is driven by some more white lies (a standard device on Worst Week). Sam tells his dad a lie about Dick to stop him from bothering him, and Mel tells Sam's mum a lie about her own mother to - likewise - prevent a dispute she can foresee. The episode generates many laughs from these basic elements.

The middle section of the episode has - what is probably - the funniest sequence since the pilot. Sam is barefoot and trapped by a hallway full of broken glass. How is got there is an example of genius comedy writing and the results are hysterical.

Episode 9. "The Wedding" Nicely orchestrated chaos defined this episode. All the recurring characters pop up and events conspire nicely against Sam until - amongst other things - he sets the swimming pool on fire.

The edge has completely gone off Dick now. Despite what disasters befall Sam, Dick is basically nice to him. He even steps in to perform the wedding.

It's nice. But, maybe, it would be funnier if it was less... nice.

Episode 10. "The Apartment" Erinn Hayes is hilarious. She's also ridiculously hot, of course, which I know from watching her on The Winner. But as the weeks go by and it emerges that Melanie is almost as unlucky as Sam (she destroys the kitchen while cooking in this episode), and that she is very much Sam's partner in all his misadventures, it cannot be escaped that Hayes is very, very funny. She's always been dropping in some great one-liners, and reactions, amid the chaos that Sam creates, but as the camera lingers on her more and more in this episode the more I found myself laughing.

With this episode the show seems to have opted to abandon the story arc approach. The opening credits no longer have an event written on the calendar and everything about this episode could be done on any other sit-com.

Never mind. Rachael Harris guests and it's a very funny episode. Much as I love the idea of story arcs, maybe the show works best as a series of stand-alone tales.

Episode 11. "The Gift" Weaker than usual. The guy who showed up and stole the car was so totally random that it pretty much didn't work very well. As usual, on this show, pretty much everything else that happened was driven by a large number of little white lies. Christmas, and all the secrecy that that entails, lends itself to telling little fibs, I suppose, but they sure overuse the idea on this show.

Episode 12. "The Article" A very funny episode that - for once - doesn't rely on anyone telling white lies to cover something up.

Sam walks in on an embarrassing situation, and ends up writing an article about it (which - we are told is very funny). However, although he has written it, he could never consider publishing it. Then the article goes missing. And winds up going from person to person in hilarious manner while Sam and Mel scramble to try and get it back.

There are several outstandingly funny moments here, and I especially love it when the show casts Sam and Mel as a team working against his (incredible) bad luck.

Episode 13. "The Puppy" Sam starts to freak out about the impending birth of his child, and Dick is locked out of the house. Very funny.

The cast is likable and very funny. Each one of the main four is pitch perfect in their roles. Sam is one of my favourite television characters right now. I really respond to his boundless enthusiasm. No matter how much bad luck befalls him, he attacks every event in his life with boundless gusto (and way too much enthusiasm). Which helps keep the (now rather slim) premise of the series alive and in play. Just about. Fact is: after they moved to stand-alone episodes, it's now pretty hard to understand how the title "Worst Week" fits any more. It's just another sit-com about a guy's mis-adventures. I'm not complaining, it's still a lot funnier than most other comedies on TV.

Episode 14. "The Sex" Mel's young nephew takes a picture of the couple during an intimate moment. And they have to stop it being seen during a show-and-tell at his school.

Average episode. Sam - this time out - doesn't really do much to create the chaos, this is just an example of the incredible bad luck that he and Mel have on a regular basis. There are a few laughs here and there and - as usual - one of the things I enjoy most about this show is discovering how funny Erinn Hayes can be. I also love seeing the way Mel and Sam are portrayed as a couple.

Episode 15. "The Epidural" The baby is about to be born, and Sam is at the wrong hospital.

Typical episode. Mishaps befall Sam and he soldiers on, in that way that makes him lovable. Kyle Bornheimer turns in an even-better-than-usual performance and there are laughs to be had. I'll miss this show. It gave me lots of hearty laughter over the weeks, even when the situations were strained, or predictable, and I really fell in love with Sam and Mel. As a couple, and individually.

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