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Rules of Engagement

TITLE: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT - CBS WINTER 2006


Info:

Premiere Date: Monday, February 5, 2007 (CBS Paramount Network Television in association with Sony Pictures Television)
Network: CBS
Time: Mondays at 9:30 p.m.
Cast: Oliver Hudson, Bianca Kajlich, Megyn Price, David Spade and Patrick Warburton


Introduction:

"Rules of Engagement" is a show about a couple that has been together for a while (and knows what marriage is REALLY about) and a younger couple that just recently got engaged that are learning the "rules of engagement." Now, the first thing you are probably thinking is, "wait, wasn't this pilot already reviewed several months ago?" And you'd be kind of right because, except for the fact that the younger couple is engaged (and not married), the show IS almost exactly like the Fox sitcom "'Til Death." But don't be fooled too much, because this isn't quite as bad or nearly as annoying as "'Til Death."


Cast Details:

"Rules of Engagement" stars Patrick Warburton as Jeff, Megyn Price as Audrey, Oliver Hudson as Adam, Bianca Kajlich as Jennifer and David Spade as Russell.

The series has more of an ensemble cast, but there is no doubt that the star in this show, much like FOX's "'Til Death" is the older male character. In this show, that would be Jeff (Patrick Warburton; "Seinfeld," "Dave's World"), who has been married to Audrey (Megyn Price; "LateLine," "Grounded for Life") for quite a while--and any observer can tell. They still love each other, but not in the same way that a young couple would love each other. The young couple here (they are engaged, but living together) would be Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich; "Dawson's Creek," "Boston Public") and Adam (Oliver Hudson). Rounding out the cast is Adam's bachelor friend that is pretty much against Adam's engagement, Russell (David Spade; "Just Shoot Me," "Saturday Night Live," "8 Simple Rules").

Patrick Warburton is most recognizable for his role as Puddy, Elaine's boyfriend on the long-running series "Seinfeld." He also starred on the series "Less Than Perfect." Warburton was a series regular on "Dave's World," on the Network. His additional television credits include the series "Murphy Brown" and "Designing Women," also on the Network, and "Newsradio" and "The Tick." His distinct voice has been heard on the animated series "Game Over," "The Venture Brothers," "Kim Possible," "Family Guy" and "The Emperor's New School." His feature film credits include the animated films "Happily N'Ever After," "Open Season," "Bee Movie," "The Emperor's New Groove," "Kronk's New Groove" and "The X's." He also starred in "The Woman Chaser," "The Dish," "Big Trouble," "Joe Somebody," "Scream 3," "Men in Black II" and the upcoming "Underdog." He won the award for Best Actor for "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright" at festivals in New York City, Boulder and Beverly Hills. Warburton's birthdate is Nov. 14. He is a native Californian and currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cathy, and their four children. He's a devoted dad who enjoys activities with his children as well as golf and tennis. The family likes to spend time in their cabin on the Rogue River in Oregon.

Megyn Price studied economics and communication at Stanford University. While in school, she frequently performed at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and in university productions. After graduation, her short-lived career in the field of finance soon gave way to her passion for acting. On television, she was a regular on the series "LateLine," and was then seen as Claudia the Hot Mom in the series "Grounded for Life." Her additional television credits include the series "Will & Grace" and "The Drew Carey Show." Her feature film credits include "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector," "Mystery, Alaska" and "Love Happened." On the stage, she appeared in the highly irreverent comedy, "The Anne Heche Monologues," and "The New Living Room." She was born on March 24 in Seattle. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, an emergency room doctor, and their two dogs, Trixie and Elmo. Price enjoys organic vegetable gardening, hiking, writing and traveling. She loves to cook and was a celebrity judge with legendary chef Michel Richard in a week-long cooking championship.

Oliver Hudson began his career in entertainment as a production assistant when he worked on the feature films "Father's Day" and "Conspiracy Theory." He then enrolled in classes at The University of Southern California where he wrote and directed a short film before he turned to acting. His television credits include a recurring role in the series "Dawson's Creek," as well as the series "The Mountain" and "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star." He also appeared in the mini-series "10.5: Apocalypse" and will be seen in the upcoming television movie "Carolina Moon." His feature film credits include "The Out-of-Towners," "Kill The Man," "Smokers," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Going Greek," "The Breed" and "Black Christmas." Hudson is the son of actress Goldie Hawn and musician Bill Hudson. He was born in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, and currently lives there with his wife, Erinn. He likes to play cards, especially poker, and enjoys boating, surfing and fishing. He likes to write and also plays ice hockey and basketball.

Bianca Kajlich began her career as a dancer with the Olympic Ballet Theater in Edmonds, Washington. She spent seven years with the company where she performed leading roles in productions of "The River," "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker." On television, she starred in "Rock Me Baby," had recurring roles in the series "Dawson's Creek" and "Boston Public," and was seen in the series "Vanished," "In Justice" and "Freaks and Geeks." Her feature film credits include "Bring It On," "Halloween: Resurrection" and "10 Things I Hate About You." She enjoys painting, writing and road trips across the country. She was born in Seattle on March 26 and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband U.S. Soccer star Landon Donovan, their cat and three dogs.

David Spade was nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and an American Comedy Award in 1999 for his role on the series "Just Shoot Me." He was also nominated three times for an Emmy Award as a writer on the long-running series "Saturday Night Live." Spade recently completed the second season of "The Showbiz Show," which he created, hosts, executive produces and writes with Hugh Fink, a former "Saturday Night Live" writer. His other television credits include the series "8 Simple Rules… for Dating My Teenage Daughter," "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "The Larry Sanders Show." He appeared on "Saturday Night Live" from 1990-1995. His feature film credits include "Benchwarmers," "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," "Joe Dirt," "Tommy Boy," "Reality Bites," "Light Sleeper" and "Coneheads." He and the late "Saturday Night Live" star Chris Farley won the 1996 MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo for the film "Blacksheep." Spade's voice was heard in the animated films "The Emperor's New Groove" and "Racing Stripes," in which he played a horse fly. He began his career performing stand-up comedy in clubs, theaters and colleges across the country. He made his television debut on "Saturday Night Live" and was named the Hot Stand-Up Comedian of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine in 1990. He enjoys playing tennis, is an avid skateboarder and has a collection of live gerbils.


Pilot Plot:

The first episode of the show introduces us to the characters (as one would expect), and we start with Adam telling Russell that he is moving in with Jennifer and that they are engaged. Russell, being the fun-loving bachelor that he is, makes it clear to Adam that he is pretty much ending the fun times of his life, but Adam is pretty sure that Russell is wrong.

Unfortunately for Adam, Jennifer's neighbors are Jeff and Audrey--who pretty much know that what Russell says about marriage is true (but they love each other anyway). Audrey is determined that Jeff is going to go to an art gallery, which he refuses to do, until Audrey tells him that there will be beer there. Audrey decides that it is also a perfect time to get to know their new neighbors a little bit better, so she invites them to the gallery too. Just like in the show "'Til Death" (I shouldn't make so many comparisons, but they are very similar shows), this gives Adam and Jennifer the perfect opportunity to see what the married life is like for Jeff and Audrey. Adam gets to learn the all-important lesson that women will control your life, which causes Adam and Jennifer to wonder if marriage really is the right option for them.

The screener DVD also contained episodes 2 and 3 of the show, "The Birthday Episode" and "The Young and the Restless" (I don't think these are the official titles of the episodes, but that is what they are called on the DVD that I received). In "The Birthday Episode," where it is time for Jeff's birthday and Adam is determined to know what a married man actually gets for his birthday. This prompts our newly engaged couple to decide that they want to come up with gifts that they will give each other every birthday, but Adam is really worried that Jennifer is going to want some sort of sexual pleasure that even he can't deal with.

In "The Young and the Restless," Adam is tired of the little bed that Jennifer has in her apartment and wants to bring the big bed that he had in his old apartment to her apartment. Only one problem: he has had sex with his ex-girlfriend in that big bed, which makes Jennifer immediately tell him that he can't have his big bed. But things get really interesting (and we see their first fight) when he decides that Jennifer should get rid of everything that is connected to her ex-lovers, only to find out that she has had many, MANY, men in the past!


Analysis:

Say it with me now: "'Til Death." Now I'll admit, this show is somewhat better than "'Til Death" (which, if it weren't for "Happy Hour," would probably go down as the worst show of the season), but the plot is more or less the same. However, I do feel as if this series has much more potential than "'Til Death," because it contains better actors and the plots here seem better than anything I've seen on that show. I have to admit, though, that this show did have some funny moments within the episodes. But they weren't exactly "laugh out loud" funny moments, but more like "grinning" moments. It is possible that those that are fans of relationship type comedies will think the jokes were funnier than I did, but even so, they still weren't that funny. One thing that I like about this show that seems to be somewhat rare with sitcoms these days is that this is just a straight sitcom--no cutaways, no single-camera stuff, no "missing laugh track," etc. You just get the episode without any explanations, which is how a sitcom should be. The episodes didn't really seem to get better or worse as I watched the three, and in fact, one was just about as decent as the next. Would I call this a bad show? Not really, but I wouldn't say that it is much better than mediocre either.


Conclusion:

As I said before (and I'll say again), this is "'Til Death" all over again, except the only difference is that the younger couple is only engaged, and not married. But what if this show lasts? Will the younger couple stay engaged for two seasons? Three seasons? They'll have to get married sooner or later, and then what we'll have is an exact clone of "'Til Death." Fortunately, this show seems to have better plots and writing than "'Til Death," so maybe there is some hope that this show could get better. Relationship sitcoms seem to be one of the big things these days, and fans of such sitcoms will enjoy this show, but otherwise, you might not find yourself enjoying this show too much.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/27/07

Video Clips:

http://cbsmediagroupftp.com/clips06/rules_clip1.wmv
http://cbsmediagroupftp.com/clips06/rules_clip2.wmv
http://cbsmediagroupftp.com/clips06/rules_clip3.wmv
http://cbsmediagroupftp.com/clips06/rules_clip4.wmv

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