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Three Sisters aired from January 2001 until February 2002 on NBC.
" I'm married to thtree women!" was the lament of the handsome Los Angeles architect Steven ( David Alan Basche) when he realized how close his new wife , Bess ( Katherine La Nasa), and her two sisters were. He had goten a true package deal. Bess was his fussy, overachieving wife , a type A who tried to get dates for her pessimistic , divorced middle sister Nora ( Vicki Lewis), a documentary filmmaker. Annie ( A.J. Langer), age 25, was the free-spirited youngest, who lived on Venice Beach, searched for the perfect wave and came up with hairbrained schemes such as selling her eggs on e-Bay. Offering a little advice about the girls -mainly to not even try to understand them-was their sarcastic dad, George ( Peter Bonerz). Honey ( Dyan Cannon) was their vivacious mom, a meditation devotee who ran something called Beyond Yoga. Jake ( Edward Kerr) was Steven's horny business partner, Gordon ( Brian Scolaro) was a bartender and Annie's romantic interest, and Elliot ( Paul Hipp) was Nora's "non-ex" ( it turned out he didn't sign the divorce papers), a musician who as the series ended was getting ready to marry her again. Charlie was Bess and Steven's baby, whom everyone baby-sat from time to time.
A Review from The New York Times
NBC, tonight at 9:30
By NEIL GENZLINGER
Published: January 9, 2001
There's something in comedy called the rule of three that says things are funniest in threesomes -- ''sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll,'' ''lean, mean fighting machine.'' Maybe the creators of ''Three Sisters,'' a new sitcom that turns up tonight on NBC, had it in mind when they conceived the show.
If so, they've succeeded in proving that every rule has an exception, because ''Three Sisters'' is no funnier than most comedies that have appeared in recent months. Which is to say that it's not very funny at all.
The three adult sisters are the expected types -- the mothering oldest (Katherine LaNasa), the sarcastic middle sib (Vicki Lewis), the young sexpot (A. J. Langer). They swap one-liners, some of them amusing, but they're not even close to meshing the way real sisters would, making the show look more like a tepid office comedy than anything involving familial bonds. Only Peter Bonerz, the ''Bob Newhart Show'' veteran, looks comfortable. (He plays the family patriarch.) Maybe it's because he worked for so long with a man who knew that hamming for the camera is the exact way not to bring a sitcom to life.
A Review from the Washington Post
NBC's 'Three Sisters': Sitcom by the Numbers
By Megan Rosenfeld
January 9, 2001
Rejiggering its Tuesday lineup, NBC tonight introduces "Three Sisters," a silly sitcom that should disappear before anyone figures out which sister is which. The show, not to be confused with the play of the same name by Anton Chekhov, is set in modern Southern California, a place so antithetical to authentic human interaction that parody is nearly impossible.
The show fills a scheduling hole left by the cancellation of the unlamented "Michael Richards Show," but it follows the top-rated "Frasier" at 9:30, a highly coveted time slot. "3rd Rock From the Sun" moves to 8 p.m., followed by "DAG."
The premise is that Steven Keats (David Alan Basche) has married Bess (Katherine LaNasa), one of three sisters, and "when you marry a woman with sisters, believe me, it's a package deal." Gee, that sounds like fun, doesn't it? Bess, the oldest, is nine months pregnant (with a very convincing pillow). Nora (Vicki Lewis), the one with the big nose, is a documentary filmmaker who keeps not going to far-off lands to work. Annie (A.J. Langer) is a ditz who can't pay her rent or settle on an occupation. The three fight viciously, laugh uproariously and snuggle in bed together so that hubby has to sleep on the couch.
The pilot that airs tonight raises several unanswered questions. Like, why does husband put up with being kicked out of his bed? What a wuss. And why is the sisters' surname "Bernstein-Flynn"? No doubt there are some really clever ethnic jokes coming up in future episodes explaining why. My guess is that Mom (Dyan Cannon) is the Flynn, and Dad (Peter Bonerz) is the Bernstein.
There is one funny in this opener. When the sisters meet at a restaurant, the camera eavesdrops on other women having lunch. They're all talking about what they've eaten that day -- trying to one-up each other with low-fat, low-cal saintliness. The theme returns in an airport scene with two women in chadors sharing the same information.
Well, it seemed funny at the time.
The cast is full of veterans. Lewis played Velma Kelly in the touring production of "Chicago" that played here last year, and was a regular on "NewsRadio." Langer was Rayanne Graff in "My So-Called Life," and LaNasa has appeared on television for a decade. Cannon, of course, has most recently played a judge on "Ally McBeal," and Bonerz has one of those television-familiar faces you recognize but can't quite place ("The Bob Newhart Show," among others).
But they come across with a kind of slick professionalism that is proficient rather than entertaining, and the characters are drawn with such simple-mindedness (Lewis is sardonic and bitter, Langer is an airhead, LaNasa is a controller) that one loses interest quickly. Although rated PG, the first show is predictably afflicted with ineffective smuttiness, which only provides another reason to avoid it. As if you needed one.
Chekhov it ain't: Katherine LaNasa, Vicki Lewis and A.J. Langer as the "Three Sisters," tonight at 9:30.
An Article from The Cincinnati Enquirer
Sunday, January 14, 2001
'Three Sisters' taken from Lakota grad's family
PASADENA, Calif. Writer DeAnn Heline may not have known it, but all her life she has been researching her new Three Sisters sitcom.
My mother is the oldest of three sisters, said Ms. Heline, a 1983 Lakota High School graduate. We were always together with them, every holiday, she told TV critics' at the press tour here.
Vacations, too. The former West Chester resident remembers riding to Florida and back in a Buick sedan with her grandparents, mom and two aunts.
We did that all the time, drive down to Florida together and take family vacations together, says the former writer for Murphy Brown, Roseanne and Ellen.
Some of her family experiences have become quirks and traits of NBC's savvy Three Sisters, which won the ratings for its debut last week (9:30 Tuesday, Channels 5, 22).
Cincinnati native Vicki Lewis (NewsRadio), A.J. Langer (It's Like You Know ...) and Katherine LaNasa (Six Days, Seven Nights) star as the three Los Angeles daughters of parents played by Peter Bonerz (The Bob Newhart Show) and Dyan Cannon (Ally McBeal).
In this week's episode (9:30 p.m. Tuesday), two sisters and their parents decide to ride in one car to the hospital for the delivery of the baby of Bess (Ms. LaNasa). Her husband (David Alan Basche) also rants about his in-laws' annual Christmas Eve skit (a Heline family tradition) and the exclusion of his family at holidays.
My husband (attorney Bruce Bolkin) has the same reaction: "Oh, are we really doing the skit again? Do we have to go home again for Christmas this year? It's going to be cold and snowy in Ohio,' says Ms. Heline, who spent Christmas in West Chester with her mother, Patricia, a retired Deer Park elementary school teacher. Her father, Jim Heline, lives in Northern Kentucky.
Ms. Heline and writing partner Eileen Heisler have been working on Three Sisters since 1999. They figured that siblings would be an interesting, different twist for a show about three young adult women.
She was inspired by her mother and aunts. They're extremely different ... yet they're like a clan. They're so tight. To show that loving relationship was really important to us, says Ms. Heline, who met Ms. Heisler as an Indiana University freshman. They have been writing together in Los Angeles since 1989.
And it seemed like that adult-sibling relationship really hadn't been explored on television, and it seemed like a natural, she says.
Ms. Lewis, the former University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music student, also seems like a natural to play Nora, the bitter, sardonic middle sister. Yet she was the last person cast for the show after a long, frustrating search.
I had no idea she was from Cincinnati, Ms. Heline admits. I didn't know until my mother said, "I read it in the Enquirer that Vicki Lewis is from Cincinnati. It never came up (with Ms. Lewis).
After seeing Ms. Lewis in Chicago on Broadway last summer, they wrote a scene in Tuesday's show in which the sisters ask Nora to do her Bob Fosse-style dance.
We steal from the actors' lives all the time, Ms. Heline says. Vicki is great. She shows so much dimension in the role. She's fabulous.
Ms. Heline says she wasn't frustrated by the 18 months it took to assemble the show, or by NBC's decision not to premiere it last fall on Tuesday against ABC's Geena Davis sitcom.
They were nervous about putting a very woman show against Geena, figuring everyone would tune in to watch that show because it's Geena Davis, she says. I always figured that people find shows more easily at midseasons. There's not as much pressure as being with the pack.
The luxury of time allowed the writers to tinker with the casting. Connie Stevens played the free-spirited mother in the pilot shot a year ago; Ms. Cannon replaced her last summer.
We were looking for someone who is not the traditional TV sitcom mom that you've seen a million times, Ms. Heline says. The one thing that Eileen and I felt was lacking on television is daughters who love their mother ... to show a great, wonderful relationship.
The biggest change for Ms. Heline since running Ellen five years ago has occurred off camera. Both writers have started families.
It's hard, because being an executive producer is so much work, she says. The hours are intense. We're writing a lot on weekends.
She has two daughters: Kate, 3, and Emery, 1. One more baby, and there could be three sisters.
No third! No third! she screams, waving her hands. It's not happening!
An Article from Time Magazine
Three Sisters NBC, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. E.T.
Monday, Jan. 15, 2001
By JAMES PONIEWOZIK
Most days, this critic is happy to be a man. But he wished he could switch genders for half an hour so as to be truly, properly insulted by this bogus female-bonding sitcom about a set of cookie-cutter sibs: a bitter careerist (Vicki Lewis), a pretty ditz (A.J. Langer) and a maternal yuppie (Katherine LaNasa). The Chekovian title and the creators' resumes (Roseanne, Murphy Brown) can't hide the cliches as the show daringly reveals that women obsess over carbs and tangle with clueless guys. Be it from Mars or Venus, let's hope that Sisters is not long for Earth.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on April 9, 2001
A.J. Langer mellows out to fight fibromyalgia
By John Morgan, Spotlight Health
With medical adviser Stephen A. Shoop, M.D.
A.J. Langer is riding a wave of success on her hit NBC sitcom Three Sisters. But what most people don't know is Langer was almost wiped out by fibromyalgia.
"At one point I was just hibernating for a year. I wouldn't go out. I couldn't drive," says Langer, who credits surfing with dramatically improving the quality of her life. "I couldn't sit through a movie. You have no idea what the pain was like."
In fact, few people have any idea what fibromyalgia is.
Even many doctors are confused by the myriad of symptoms. Some doubt its existence and believe it is purely psychosomatic. Others feel it's the same as chronic fatigue syndrome.
But Langer and at least 5 million other Americans know all too well that fibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes chronic, often debilitating muscle pain and fatigue. Other symptoms may include:
Irritable bowel or bladder syndrome
Women are afflicted over six times more than men and their symptoms are typically more severe. Onset of the syndrome is generally in the 20s or 30s but can happen at any age.
While it appears fibromyalgia is genetically linked, doctors still do not know what causes the illness. After Langer was diagnosed, her mother realized she, too, had fibromyalgia.
Rebel without a cause
Label goes here.
American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association
Langer was 12 when she began experiencing periodic hip and neck pain that gradually grew worse. By the time Langer was 21, she'd been to 14 doctors. One told her mother she was faking her illness.
"And all of them, every single one, prescribed pills pain killers, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills. It was 'pills 'r' us,'" says the 26-year-old former star of My So-Called Life.
But according to Dr. Alan Weinberger, associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA School of Medicine, some people find relief from muscle relaxants, pain medications and some anti-depressants.
"Anti-inflammatories are of minimal help because the pain is non-inflammatory," says Weinberger.
Langer didn't want the medications and sought alternative ways to overcome her affliction. Including a trip to Costa Rica, where she learned to surf.
"Surfing and the people I met there are a big part of my staying healthy," admits Langer. "That trip changed my life."
When Langer returned home, she continued to seek out her own solutions for feeling better.
"I went on a 10-day meditation and learned to relax and breathe," reveals Langer. "I learned to not over-focus on feeling bad. You only have so much energy so you have to stay positive."
"There is no single magic bullet for fibromyalgia," reports Weinberger, who is also an attending physician at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. "Each patient is unique and has different symptoms."
Diagnosis typically requires a careful patient history and an examination of 18 "tender points" developed by the American College of Rheumatology. These points are often right where a muscle's tendon attaches to a bone or right in the middle of a muscle. Diagnosis requires presence of at least 11 of the 18 possible points.
"Patients must have pain above and below the waist and on the right and left sides of the body," explains Weinberger. "The points are very defined and one inch either way often elicits no response."
"We ignore the tender points totally," says Dr. R. Paul St. Amand, assistant clinical professor of endocrinology at Harbor/UCLA Medical School. He is also the author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia: The Revolutionary Treatment That Can Reverse the Disease. "Many people have a high tolerance for pain, so they never produce a reaction."
Instead, every time St. Amand sees a patient he "maps" 40-50 points on the body where fibromyalgia swellings occur. This way he can better monitor its progress or improvement.
Weinberger says most treatments for fibromyalgia are multi-faceted but address several common elements.
Pain reduction and/or management
Adapting activities to avoid single postures for long periods of time
Weinberger recommends moderate exercise later in the day to help strengthen muscles, reduce pain, and promote better sleep.
"Many of the patients I treat with fibromyalgia don't sleep well," says Weinberger. "So it's often helpful to prescribe something that helps them get more non-REM sleep."
Weinberger says that non-REM sleep is the truly restful sleep that most people with fibromyalgia have difficulty getting. "In general those with fibromyalgia often tend to be driven, over-achievers and this may contribute to poor sleep patterns."
"I was definitely hard on myself," says Langer. "I was overextending myself."
Other sleep deprivation "triggers" can be traumatic events, injuries, surgeries, graveyard shifts or sleepless nights caring for a newborn or listening to a snoring husband. But experts are not certain whether sleep disturbances are the cause or a symptom of fibromyalgia.
But St. Amand has a completely different and controversial approach to treating fibromyalgia.
He believes that fibromyalgia is caused by excess calcium phosphate in the body that impedes the energy-producing cells of the muscles. St. Amand advises patients to take guaifenesin, an expectorant that causes increased excretion of phosphate.
"One 600 milligram tablet three times a day will create an effective response in 90% of patients," claims St. Amand, who himself has fibromyalgia along with three daughters and his wife. "Guaifenesin has no side effects and must be taken for the rest of their life."
"There have not been any studies that have shown guaifenesin to be effective," cautions Weinberger. St. Amand is currently waiting for two centers to begin trials with guaifenesin and reports that his treatment works if followed correctly.
"I've met with Dr. St. Amand and his program is very rigid about what you can eat," says Langer. "It's not my lifestyle. I'm already exhausted."
Instead, Langer has learned to be laid-back about her serious condition. She eats what she wants and only exercises when it's fun. Her exercise of choice is surfing but also does Pilates, which she says teaches her body how to heal itself.
Langer stresses that each person is different and should find out what best works for them.
"You have to trust your body to take care of you," says Langer, who after a recent surgery found herself dealing with another fibromyalgia flare-up. "You can't be a victim and heal."
"I don't look at myself as suffering. I have a great life and I'm super active," adds Langer. "I'm not scared of it becoming debilitating. You always have a choice."
For more on Three Sisters go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(TV_series)
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20020607030647/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/3sisters.html
For a Website dedicated to David Alan Basche go to http://www.davidalanbasche.com/
For a Review of Three Sisters go to https://web.archive.org/web/20020614112722/http://www.gist.com:80/tv/article.jsp?adf=com010401.adf
· Date: Mon June 23, 2008 · Filesize: 19.2kb · Dimensions: 245 x 354 ·
Keywords: Three Sisters: Katherine La Nasa David Alan Basche