Poster: Stuck In The '70's
(see this users gallery)
Out of Practice aired from September 2005 until March 2006 on CBS.
Medicine was the one thing the Barnes family had in common. All five of them were doctors. Stewart ( Henry Winkler), a gastroenterologist , and his wife Lydia ( Stockard Channing), an obsessive control-freak cardiologist, were in the midst of an acrimonious divorce and were only on speaking terms for the sake of their children. Womanizing Oliver ( Ty Burrell), the eldest, was a successful plastic surgeon who was not above using his practice to provide him with his latest conquest. Their other children were openly gay Regina ( Paula Marshall), an emergency room doctor with a sarcastic sense of humor, and sensitive Ben ( Christopher Gorham), the youngest, a couples counselor whose own marriage was in trouble. In the premiere episode his activist wife , Naomi , left a message telling him she was leaving him. Adding fuel to the fire between Stewart and Lydia , whose divorce became final before Thanksgiving, was the affair he was having with Crystal ( Jennifer Tilly), his sexy, but not very bright receptionist. Oliver and Ben lived in the same Manhattan apartment building and, when circumstances forced Oliver out of his own apartment, he moved in with Ben. The contrast between their attitude toward women was stark-Oliver saw them as objects and was commitment phobic, while Ben wanted to find a woman he could love and marry.
A Review from Variety
Out of Practice
(Series -- CBS, Mon., Sept. 19, 9:30 p.m.)
By PHIL GALLO
Taped in Los Angeles by Picador Prods. and Knotty Entertainment in association with Paramount Network Television. Executive producers, Joe Keenan, Christopher Lloyd; co-producer, Tony Nicks; director, Kelsey Grammer; writers, Keenan, Lloyd;
Lydia Barnes - Stockard Channing
Stewart Barnes - Henry Winkler
Ben Barnes - Christopher Gorham
Regina Barnes - Paula Marshall
Oliver Barnes - Ty Burrell
Crystal - Jennifer Tilly
A heavyweight scribe tribe ensures a high-grade professionalism in the assembly of "Out of Practice." Getting the prize CBS timeslot between "Two and a Half Men" and "CSI: Miami," the team behind "Frasier," Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd, has made an old-fashioned family laffer that arrives with well-defined characters, sharp writing (despite plenty of boob jokes) and Kelsey Grammer's solid direction. Show already feels like it's been on air for three seasons ... in a good way.
Keenan and Lloyd don't stray far from the "Frasier" formula: The center of "Practice" is Ben Barnes (Christopher Gorham), the one member of the Barnes family who is not an MD, but works as a marriage counselor. (He is married but we never see the wife.)
The Barnes clan comes and goes at a coffee shop peopled with hospital workers. The parents, Lydia (Stockard Channing) and Stewart (Henry Winkler) are divorced, and it has fallen on Ben to be his mother's chaperone and seat-filler as she makes her way to the theater, the opera and charity events. Stewart, meanwhile, has his dim-witted receptionist Crystal (Jennifer Tilly) to keep him warm at night.
Ben's siblings have thriving medical jobs: Oliver (Ty Burrell) is a plastic surgeon who believes he is a suave ladies man; and sister Regina (Paula Marshall) is a lesbian who works in the E.R.
Ben attempts to reunite the family for his 30th birthday at which the venom flies in the direction of his militant, vegan wife who is off hugging a tree. Family hears a message that suggests she won't be returning home, having found someone who shares her interests.
A day later, Ben is down in the dumps and the family, one member at a time, steps in to remind him of his resolve and talents; there is a reassuring note about one of his couple clients that should further warm the hearts of auds pulled in by the Barnes families charms and idiosyncrasies.
"Practice" takes advantage of Channing's ability to wield a sharp tongue -- Lydia is a character about to come unglued and she conveys that marvelously -- and Winkler's "Mister-Rogers"-like friendliness.
Stewart is fatherly yet guarded, which Winkler handles nicely. Role is a dramatic turn away from the confused lawyer he has played on "Arrested Development" the past two seasons.
Gorham, in his first starring role, is immediately likeable and will fit in well in CBS' string of comedies led by loveable men. Burrell's Oliver is written as an over-the-top character and he delivers appropriately and Marshall, provided her Regina gets to amp up her smart-ass ways, will bring a nice texture to the show. Tilly was a late add to the cast and is not seen much in the pilot.
Grammer's direction is efficient and tidy, but this is not a risk-taking operation: "Out of Practice" gives CBS a new family to look after now that the Barones have moved on.
A Review from USA TODAY
Laugh track back on track?
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Comedy is making a comeback.
Not a rush-back, mind you. There does not appear to be a hit the size of Seinfeld or a classic to challenge Frasier on the immediate TV horizon.
But both of CBS' comedy premieres tonight represent a strong step toward the long-desired sitcom revival — and even Fox's lesser effort is an honest, if failed, attempt to find a suitable partner for the best of the current crop: Arrested Development.
The most inventive of the new shows, CBS' How I Met Your Mother, also happens to be the best. A heartfelt romantic comedy told in flashback, Mother is the story of how Ted (Josh Radnor) met his wife and fell in love, as told to his children 25 years later by an older and unseen Ted (the voice of Bob Saget).
Young Ted lives in New York with his best friend, Marshall (Jason Segal), who is about to get engaged to Lily (Buffy's Alyson Hannigan). With life changing around him, Ted decides he needs to meet a woman, a decision that is seconded by his friend Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), who believes the key to romance is to "suit up."
Ted doesn't follow Barney's advice, but he does meet a woman he's convinced will be his future wife, Robin (Cobie Smulders). That conviction leads to a possibly risky twist, but given Mother's lovingly bemused tone, the risk is probably worth taking.
The script is humorous, though not hilarious, and the show boasts a fine cast that could, with time, jell into a great one. Harris sparkles in a change-of-pace role as a clueless would-be player, and Hannigan is as delightful here as she was in Buffy, which is high praise indeed.
Where Mother is soft and sweet, CBS' Out of Practice is loud, arch and brassy. Created by two of Frasier's premier producers, Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd, Practice is the kind of show that will probably appeal to those who like their comedy theatrical.
The show centers on Ben (Christopher Gorham), the only non-——doctor in a family of physicians. It's his birthday and his wife is out of town, so he's having dinner with his brother (Ty Burrell), his gay sister (Paula Marshall) and their divorced parents — played in high comic style by Stockard Channing and Henry Winkler.
As they so often did on Frasier, Keenan and Lloyd have built their plot around a mini-farce of cross-purpose conversations. Simpler might have been wiser; the frantic pilot may be off-putting for some, despite some very funny lines.
You won't find actors more worthy of sitcom stardom than Channing and Winkler, and after many failed efforts, Marshall may finally have found a good match for her talents. Still, if this Practice succeeds, it will be because of the easy-to-like Gorham, who endows the show and this family with a touch of relatable humanity that would otherwise be missing.
Unfortunately, what's missing from Fox's Kitchen Confidential is laughs. This sitcom twist on the life of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain turns Bourdain into Alias' Bradley Cooper, a personable actor but not the comic diva the role requires.
Cooper plays a down-on-his-luck chef who has been offered a chance at redemption, but only if he can get a restaurant going in 48 hours. That's a tough task, as he keeps telling us in the annoyingly insistent narration, a device that clearly needs a few seasons' rest.
The writers seem to assume that life backstage at a glamorous New York restaurant is so inherently enticing, we'll just fall into the story on our own. Maybe, but a few sympathetic characters or amusing lines couldn't have hurt.
Without them, odds are that the folks in this Kitchen are about to find out why so many restaurants — and sitcoms — close in the first year.
A Review from entertainyourbrain.com
"Out of Practice" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/06/2005
Why couldn’t CBS have a perfect Monday lineup? For years, we have had to suffer the CBS Monday night black sheep that is “Still Standing” before it finally was moved to Wednesdays where I didn’t have to see it anymore. With “Everybody Loves Raymond” gone, they had to fill at least one half hour, and even though it’s not as bad as “Still Standing,” “Out of Practice” is the kink in an almost perfect CBS Monday night lineup.
Dr. Benjy “Ben” Barnes (Christopher Gorham) is a couples’ counselor whose family doesn’t consider him to be a “real” doctor because he doesn’t have “M.D.” after his name (that’s kind of cruel…he managed to get a PhD! I would consider him a “real” doctor.) The “real” doctors in Ben’s family are his brother, Oliver (Ty Burrell), a self-centered plastic surgeon who likes dating the women he works on; and his sister, Regina (Paula Marshall), an E.R. doctor who also happens to be a lesbian. Their divorcing parents are Stewart (Henry Winkler), a gastroenterologist who is happy to be no longer married to his more successful, status conscious cardiologist wife, Lydia (Stockard Channing.) Stewart is also dating Crystal (Jennifer Tilly), his receptionist, who just happens to be a patient of Oliver’s. Ben has to try to fix his family’s problems on a weekly basis as well as deal with his own.
In the first episode, Ben is finishing his counseling session with an older couple, Irv (Steven Gilborn) and Joyce (Peg Shirley), while his secretary, Bianca (Jordana Spiro), listens at the door. Lydia and Stewart come in and ask if they can take Ben out for drinks for his 30th birthday. He won’t be spending it with his wife, Naomi (Constance Zimmer, who won’t appear in an episode herself for several more weeks), because she is an environmental protestor who is currently in Oregon protesting the cutting down of a redwood tree (everyone in the family can’t stand her.) Lydia also plans to take Ben to the symphony later in the week as a birthday present. The next day, Ben has breakfast a diner with Oliver and Regina, and he tells them that their parents actually got along, so he invites them all to come over the following Thursday. At the party, everyone shows up, except for Stewart. Ben goes up to Stewart’s apartment (Stewart lives in an apartment above Ben) to get another bottle of wine. Right after Ben leaves, Stewart shows up, carrying a bottle of wine. While waiting for Ben to come back, they overhear Naomi leaving a message on the answering machine saying that she is not coming back and that they need to talk. Ben, meanwhile, meets Crystal for the first time, who answers the door in nothing but a towel. He puts two-and-two together and realizes that Stewart has been sleeping with his receptionist. When he gets back to his apartment, a series of misunderstandings occur. Eventually the truth comes out about both Naomi and Crystal, and he asks everyone to leave. The next morning, they all try to comfort Ben at the diner, with Oliver actually setting him up with a patient of his named Staci (Maitland Ward) to get over Naomi. The episode ends with Ben doubting his skills as a counselor, but then he sees Irv and Joyce being happy together, and it picks him up.
In the second episode, Lydia calls a meeting at the diner with Stewart, Oliver, and Regina to coordinate their schedules so that they can be there this weekend for Ben, following the breakup of his marriage to Naomi. Oliver spots a model named Gail Henson (Jenna Gering), whom he calls “The Holy Gail” and has given her nose to several patients in the past. He goes over to talk to her, and then Ben walks in. He is still mourning the breakup himself. When the weekend comes up, Ben’s family has trouble taking shifts comforting Ben. He figures out that they are trying to look after him this weekend, and he is a little frustrated about it. Stewart invites everyone over for dinner that night, including Gail. Apparently, he forgot that Crystal was supposed to come over that night as well, so she shows up for dinner too. When Ben gets there, he is in a good mood. He has decided to fly to Oregon to win Naomi back. His family isn’t happy about it, but they pretend to be supportive. Naomi calls Ben’s cell and tells him that she has been in town for a week now, and that she doesn’t want to see him. His family finally tells him what they think of Naomi, and he goes back to his apartment upset. When he gets there, he finds that Naomi has taken all of her stuff out, and some of his. He has a touchy-feely moment with his family, who all say that they will always be there for him.
In the third episode, Ben and Lydia are on their way have lunch, so they ride the hospital’s elevator with Barb McGee (Valerie Mahaffey), the hospital’s biggest gossip, Stewart, and Crystal (I guess the whole family works in the same hospital), making for a very awkward elevator ride. The next day, Lydia has lunch at the diner with her kids, and she tells them that she is planning a party for the employees of the hospital to prove that she is okay with Stewart moving on. She invites the kids, and they suggest that she should ask a fellow doctor at the hospital named Ron Barker (Bruce Wright) to be her date (he had been in the diner and asked her for her hot sauce.) They also think that she should invite Stewart and Crystal over to prove ultimately that she is okay with it. At the party, Barb arrives, followed by Ron and his secretary…and fiancée…Liz McCarthy (Kim Oja.) Lydia brings the boys into the kitchen, where she panics that she will be stood up. They offer to call all of the middle-aged men that they know to be her date, which she refuses at first, but when Barb pokes her head in, curious about this date she has, Lydia takes the boys’ suggestion. Ben has no luck finding a man for her, but Oliver does. He brings her a man named Kurt (Julian Stone), a patient of his. Oliver then tells Ben and Regina that Kurt is a male escort, which makes them mad. Barb starts to suspect that she has met Kurt from somewhere, and finally figures it out when she sees him giving Lydia a backrub (Oliver had said that Kurt was a physical therapist.) The boys tell Regina to keep Barb away while they tell Lydia in the kitchen about Kurt. After they tell her, Stewart comes in, and he finds out as well. Finally, Barb comes in, and Regina blackmails her from telling anyone else by telling her that she treated Barb’s broken ankle in the E.R. following a sexual romp with her tennis instructor. The episode ends with Lydia whining that Stewart moved on quicker than she did.
Creators Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd (not the “Taxi”/Back to the Future actor) write for and executive produce this show. This is their third show together; they created the Emmy-winning NBC “Cheers” spin-off “Frasier” in 1993. In 2002, they created the awful CBS sitcom “Bram and Alice,” which was cancelled after four episodes. So far, this show is doing great in the ratings, but it’s only because it is between the megahits “Two and a Half Men” and “C.S.I.: Miami.”
The big problem with this show is that it’s not on the same funny level as the three shows that precede it on Monday. I found some jokes amusing, like Oliver’s assumption that all women who turn him down are lesbians, but the whole concept of the parents making snide comments about each other doesn’t appeal to me.
The talented cast has nothing to work with. Gorham is an actor who has been on some great shows that only lasted one season. In the 2003-2004 season, he played the lead in one of my favorite shows of that season, UPN’s “Jake 2.0.” In the 2004-2005 season, he was in a good show called “Medical Investigation” on NBC, a show that was eclipsed by FOX’s “House”…both shows where they investigated medical oddities on a weekly basis (the powerful performance of Hugh Laurie made “House” a hit, while the too-huge great cast of “Investigation” made the show bomb.) Marshall has been the female equivalent of Ted McGinley, the king of showkillers (with the exception of ABC’s “Hope & Faith.”) Within the last decade, she has starred in six different TV shows that all were cancelled in less than a season: NBC’s “Hidden Hills” (2002), NBC’s “Cursed” (2000), ABC’s “Snoops” (1999), ABC’s “Cupid” (1998), NBC’s “Chicago Sons” (1997), and FOX’s “Wild Oats” (1994.) The funny thing is…I like her. I don’t remember all of the above shows (apparently everyone else doesn’t remember them either), but the ones I did see, I liked. This is the worst show I’ve seen her in so far. I don’t know much about Burrell, but he doesn’t shine here. As far as the oldest veterans on the show, Winkler and Channing, I don’t know why they left their respective current shows for this one. I know that the former Fonz didn’t have a huge part on FOX’s “Arrested Development,” but he was hilarious as the Bluth family lawyer. Ditto goes for the former Rizzo, who won an Emmy for her role as the First Lady on NBC’s “The West Wing.” I know that both shows aren’t doing so well in the ratings, but doesn’t mean that they had to leave their former shows for this one. As I’ve already mentioned, I hated the parents’ constant insults to one another, because I didn’t find them very funny. The only one in the cast who is consistent is Tilly. She plays the same exact role every time, so I don’t expect anything unique from her.
It’s too bad that “Out of Practice” isn’t better than the other Monday CBS shows (or even as good as those others), because then we would have a perfect Monday night on CBS. It doesn’t look too good that “Frasier’s” Kelsey Grammer directed the pilot episode. Despite the few laughs that it did generate and the decent ratings its placement has generated, this show is D.O.A.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on March 21, 2006
'Happy Days' gets back into 'Practice'
By William Keck, USA TODAY
HOLLYWOOD — A small tour group of movie studio stargazers is fixated on a map of the Paramount lot, oblivious to two TV legends climbing into a golf cart just a few feet behind them. But later, the celebrity pair is recognized by a busload of excited Italian tourists, and one of them shouts, "Ciao, Fonzie!"
The absurdity is not lost on former Happy Days co-stars Henry Winkler and Marion Ross (he was The Fonz; she was Mrs. C), who have reunited on the Paramount lot, home to Happy Days from 1974 to 1984, for Ross' guest appearance on Winkler's CBS sitcom, Out of Practice (tonight, 8 ET/PT). He plays a doctor, and she is his retired receptionist.
As part of the unusually tight-knit Happy Days gang, they have remained a regular part of each other's support network. Each time Ross appears in stage productions, there is a backstage bouquet of flowers from the now 60-year-old Fonz. And when death claimed the first member of their Happy Days clan in November, Ross, 77, turned up at Pat Morita's (Arnold) memorial service to read letters from Winkler and others. "It was a beautiful Buddhist ceremony," Ross says.
The two also have lent their support to Happy Days creator Garry Marshall's struggling stage show Happy Days: The Musical, which just closed a preview run in Burbank with Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block) playing a singing/dancing Arthur Fonzarelli. (Marshall plans to take the show on the road for some fine-tuning.)
Winkler helped McIntyre nail Fonzie's super-cool inflections ("Aaaay"), and Ross recently turned up in the audience, along with Happy Days players Tom Bosley (Mr. C), Anson Williams (Potsie) and Donny Most (Ralph). Ron Howard sent the cast an opening-night gift of milk and chocolate-chip cookies — a squeaky-clean gesture worthy of his HappyDays character, Richie Cunningham.
L.A. critics have been tough on Marshall's musical, but Winkler and Ross are confident Marshall will make the project a hit. "It needs work," Ross acknowledges, "but Garry has been working on this for five years, and it's going to find its way."
A big nostalgia fan, Winkler and his producing partner, Michael Levitt, produced last year's Happy Days 30th anniversary special, as well as CBS' recent Dallas and Knots Landing reunions. And with Out of Practice having already wrapped for the season, Winkler will next reunite the Dynasty cast for a CBS special.
But Winkler's pet project of the moment is luring viewers to Out of Practice in hopes of getting a second season out of CBS. The show, which last aired Jan. 9, averaged about 12.3 million viewers a week, though CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine and Courting Alex both did better in that time slot. To encourage viewership, Winkler has passed out some 1,000 autographed business cards promoting the episode's time and date to fans on the street.
As Ross persuades Winkler to ride with her to the Paramount studio store, where she hopes to pick up Happy Days: The Complete First Season DVD, she reminds him that even Happy Days endured a rocky beginning.
"We never got no respect," Ross cracks. "But look: We're still here. And so beloved."
For another Review of Out of Practice go to http://www.popmatters.com/pm/tv/reviews/45422/out-of-practice-050927/
For a Page dedicated to Stockard Channing go to http://www.geocities.com/rizzo_c/TheStockardChanningFanPage
For a Website dedicated to Paula Marshall go to http://www.spacesurfer.com/wceleb/list/Paula_Marshall_0.html
For another Paula Marshall Website go to http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/garrbearr/
For a Website dedicated to Christopher Gorham go to http://www.geocities.com/theucgs/main.html
For another Christopher Gorham site go to http://christopher-gorham.org/
For a Website dedicated to Jennifer Tilly go to http://jennifer-tilly.org/
· Date: Fri June 6, 2008 · Views: 4562 · Filesize: 96.8kb · Dimensions: 468 x 264 ·
Keywords: Out of Practice