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The Second Half aired from September 1993 until April 1994 on NBC.

John Palmaro ( John Mendoza) was a dumpy , absentminded sports columnist for The Chicago Daily Post who ambled through life issuing wisecracks. Newly divorced, he had reverted to his naturally slovenly ways and could often be found slouched in his sparsely furnished apartment watching TV , surrounded by empty pizza cartons. Though barely able to organize his new life, he nevertheless had weekend custody of his two daughters, self-absorbed Cathy ( Ellen Blain) and bright little Ruthie ( Brooke Stanley), which required at least a part-time show of parental responsibility. Fortunately his sensible sister Denise ( Jessica Lundy), a nurse, lived across the hall and helped out. Down at the office John pecked out his column " The Second Half," and got plenty of free advice from self-assured editor Robert( Wayne Knight) and bon vivant critic David ( Joe Guzaldo). Maureen ( Mindy Cohn) was John's chubby but eager assistant.

A Review from Variety

September 7, 1993 12:00AM PT
The Second Half

By Tony Scott

Stand-up comic John Mendoza turns up as newly divorced, disorganized Chi sports columnist John Palmaro, who has little ability to cope. Only mildly amusing, “The Second Half” suggests how rough the first half must have been.

With his new apartment not yet furnished, his sassy 14-year-old daughter Cathy (Ellen Blain) and her younger sis Ruth (Brooke Stanley) come to visit and nothing pleases Cathy. John’s friends, neighbors and boss Robert (Wayne Knight) stop by. Palmaro does buy bedroom furniture for the girls, but it arrives in parts in boxes ready to be put together.

The humor’s bland, the direction by Barnet Kellman diffident. Written in low-key fashion, the first chapter suggests many other domestic predecessors, with Mendoza not displaying the timing with which to build up the thin material. The kids are unextraordinary, and the characters visiting the living room don’t light up any comedy kleigs.

The Second Half

(Tues. (7), 9:30-10 p.m., NBC-TV)

Production: Filmed by Castle Rock Entertainment. Exec producer, John Mendoza; co-exec producers, Lou Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Barnet Kellman; producer, Joan Van Horn; director, Kellman; writers-creators, Benvenuti, Rudnick, Mendoza.

Crew: Camera, Wayne Kennan; editor, Tucker Wiard; sound, Peter San Filipo; music, Robben Ford, the Blue Line; production designer, Tho. A. Azzari.

Cast: Cast: John Mendoza, Jessica Lundy, Joe Guzaldo, Ellen Blain, Brooke Stanley, Patrick Bristow, Wayne Knight, Kimberley Kates, Mary Kane.

A Review from USA TODAY


Mendoza's halfhearted 'Second'

Someday the networks will get over the notion that every stand-up comic is a latent sitcom star, and begin hiring honest-to-goodness actors again.

Until then, shows like The Second Half will come and go. Not that there's anything too objectionable about this unassuming lump, except it just lies there like a stifled belch.

John Mendoza is this week's so-called discovery, a deadpan lug with a pudgy mug and middle-aged bloat. He's at his best when he trains his sleepy glare on the terminally dumb: a fey airline-ticket agent and a pizza delivery boy who arrives without change yet expects a tip.

He's at his worst when asked to carry a scene with what amounts to negative energy, where a shrug is meant ( but fails) to convey a thousand words. The show's as empty as his living quarters, an apartment still unfurnished a month after his divorce. It's up to his sister down the hall to replenish the toilet paper.

As a Chicago sportswriter ( of a column titled The Second Half) with two precocious daughters who visit on the weekends, Mendoza is presumably meant to appeal to that hapless-male comic ethos that ABC has tapped so successfully in Home Improvement and this show's competition, Coach.

But so far, he's just an Oscar without a Felix, a Tim Taylor minus Jill, coach lacking the Christine. The Second Half needs another half. Best friend Wayne Knight ( Jurassic Park, Seinfeld) who's making a career out of overweight, obnoxious characters doesn't cut it.

Mendoza does try, though, hitting on a salesclerk with the same " what the hell" approach he takes to buying furniture. But it sort of goes nowhere.

Like the show. It's only half there, and that's not enough.

A Review by the LA times

TV REVIEWS : Writing Leaves Mendoza With Little Support in 'Second Half'
THE NEW SEASON. One of a series.
September 07, 1993|HOWARD ROSENBERG

"The Second Half" introduces stand-up comic John Mendoza as a likable slob of a Chicago sports columnist adjusting to his new lifestyle as a divorce. What the NBC premiere (at 9:30 tonight on Channels 4, 36 and 39) doesn't introduce, though, is enough sharp writing to sustain interest in him even for a half hour.

John Palmaro (Mendoza) lives in a virtually bare apartment next door to his sister, Denise (Jessica Lundy). His crisis of the moment is where to put his visiting daughters, teen-ager Cathy (Ellen Blain) and 9-year-old Ruth (Brooke Stanley), who arrive for the weekend unexpectedly. It's a crisis that doesn't generate much laughter.

"The Second Half" does have its moments, specifically when he-man John is confronted by an irritatingly fussy airline agent, and John does have a gruff, sardonic charm that wears well. Yet Cathy's snottiness is especially grating (even taking into account her confusion over her parents' divorce), and the episode's core story is especially barren.

Future episodes have John appearing in the newsroom, where, presumably, the climate for humor may improve.

For more on The Second Half go to
Date: Thu May 2, 2013 � Filesize: 58.8kb, 123.1kbDimensions: 771 x 1000 �
Keywords: The Cast of Second Half


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