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Inside Schwartz aired from September 2001 until January 2002 on NBC.
Young, Mild-mannered Adam ( Breckin Meyer) was the vice president of marketing for his dad's sandwich chain, The Pita Factory but his passion was sports. He had an occasional gig as announcer for a minor-league baseball team, but ever optimistic, hoped for bigger things. Unfortunately it didn't look like he would get much help from his incompetent agent , a black dude named William Morrris ( Dondre T. Whitfield). Get it? Eve ( Maggie Lawson) was his former girlfriend , who had dumped him , though he hoped to get back together; Julie ( Miriam Shor), his smart, sardonic pal at Dad's offices; David ( Bryan Callen), a sex-obsessed friend; and Emily ( Jennifer Irwin), David's put-upon wife. Gene ( Richard Kline) was Adam's clueless , gregarious father, who wanted Adam to stay in the sandwich biz.
Sports was such a passion for Adam that he imagined his entire life as a sports contest, complete with fantasy announcers " calling" the progress of his dates and other interactions, and plenty of sports lingo ( " I took a few shots to the head this week, but I'm still in the game"). Each episode opened with real-life commentators Van Earl Wright and Kevin Frazier on a Sportscenter-style set, setting the scene; sometimes they would then walk into the middle of scenes ( unseen by the participants) and " call the play"there as well. Guest sports celebrities like Dick Butkus, Mills Lane , and Bill Walton also appeared to comment.
A Review from variety
September 23, 2001 3:58PM PT
By Steven Oxman
The ads for “Inside Schwartz” bill it as a “comedy with imagination,” which seems a strange, almost defensive way for NBC to promote a sitcom, admitting as it does the thoroughly unimaginative state of the network’s bread-and-butter form. “Inside Schwartz” turns out to have not an imagination so much as a gimmick, wherein an aspiring sports announcer, played by Breckin Meyer (“Clueless,” “Rat Race”), imagines his life as a single man being commented on by various sports personages. Clever but not particularly funny, the format becomes repetitive even in its pilot and risks getting tired quickly without an injection of something more genuinely offbeat. A couple of pleasing supporting performances help it along, and its prime Thursday timeslot between “Friends” and “Will & Grace” assures sampling, although, as its many canceled predecessors have proven, that does not assure success. In this case, a spot geared toward an audience of older men may have made a smarter fit.
Creator Stephen Engel has clearly been inspired by the creativity of ESPN commercials, but at least in the first episode he doesn’t even come close to matching their irreverent wit. Dick Butkus, Mills Lane, Bill Walton and Bill Buckner make appearances in the first half-hour, all figments of our lead character’s imagination.
Fox Sports anchors Van Earl Wright and Kevin Frazier will be regulars, hosting the “Inside Sports”-like “Inside Schwartz,” which begins the episode filling us in on Adam Schwartz’s life — most important the fact that he’s recently been dumped by his longtime girlfriend Eve (Maggie Lawson) and still harbors irrational hope of a reunion, despite everyone in his life telling him to move on.
His most prominent boosters are his befuddled but caring father (Richard Kline, given the best lines), his sardonic best friend Julie (a very appealing Miriam Shor, unrecognizable from her “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” turn) and his married, and very horny, buddy David (Bryan Callen of “Mad TV”).
Meyer is charming in a self-deprecating way, but charming isn’t the same as funny. In this conception, he’s mostly used as a set-up man for his own imaginary friends, who deliver, or rather embody, the punchlines. The structure is reminiscent of HBO’s “Dream On,” but this mainstream effort replaces that series’ raunchiness with a wanting-to-be-liked blandness and a typically forced network laughtrack — it’s not HBO, it’s TV.
None of this is bad, exactly; it’s just uninspired. Engel has transparently laid out exactly where he’s going from here, and it’s a place we’ve been to many times before. Adam’s platonic friendship with Julie is showing signs of romantic tension, and one can already foresee the scene where Eve really does want Adam back, after, of course, he has moved on. The play-by-play and color commentary from cameo sports figures will be cute but unsurprising.
Dondre T. Whitfield (“All My Children”) will join the cast in a future episode, playing Adam’s agent as our title character pursues his dreams as the sportscaster of a minor league team, to the potential dismay of his father, who plans on leaving Adam his chain of sandwich shops.
NBC; Thurs., Sept. 27, 8:30 P.M.
Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Twentieth Century Fox Television and NBC Studios. Executive producer, Stephen Engel; producer, John Ziffren; director, Pamela Fryman; writer, Engel.
Crew: Camera, Peter Smokler; music, Ben Vaughn; casting, Carol Goldwasser. 30 MINS.
Cast: Adam Schwartz - Breckin Meyer
Julie Hermann - Miriam Shor
Gene Schwartz - Richard Kline
David Cobert - Bryan Callen
Emily Cobert - Jennifer Irwin
Eve Morris - Maggie Lawson
With: Van Earl Wright, Kevin Frazier, Dick Butkus, Bill Walton, Mills Lane, Bill Buckner
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
SERIES DEBUT 8:30-9PM INSIDE SCHWARTZ (NBC, TV-14) What sounds like a Catskills porno flick is actually another crappy Thursday-at-8:30 sitcom for NBC. Breckin Meyer (above center) plays a wannabe sports announcer whose thoughts are played out via color commentary by semi-famous former athletes (think SportsCenter meets a less-funny Herman's Head). But if you thought watching Bill Buckner trying to act was painful, just wait till you catch the imaginary referee who follows single guy Meyer around, calling inane penalties such as ''illegal use of tongue; loss of second date.'' More like loss of second viewing. D+
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 11, 2001
Wild About Larry
EW talks to Richard Kline about his role on NBC's ''Inside Schwartz''
By John Sellers
He's put away the leisure suits and his hair's gone gray, but it's still easy to recognize Richard Kline, best known as sleazy neighbor Larry Dallas on ''Three's Company.'' The former sitcom womanizer, now 50, is back on the boob tube playing Breckin Meyer's daft dad on NBC's new post-''Friends'' sitcom ''Inside Schwartz.'' ''I see him at work and say, 'Hey, I saw you last night on ''Three's Company.'' It was a great episode where there was a misunderstanding!''' jokes Meyer. Here, we subject Kline to even more good-natured ribbing. Work with us, Lar!
You inspired a generation of horndogs. What do you have to say for yourself? Get a life! So many guys come up to me and say, ''You're my hero, man!'' And I go, ''Oh, I'm your hero because you come on to women, you borrow money, and you get your friends in trouble?'' Hello?
Did your contract require you to expose at least 10 chest hairs per episode? Larry was known as a three-button guy, meaning you had to open three buttons on your shirt. And you had to blow-dry the chest hair before every performance. I had a normal hairdresser and then a guy that came in and blow-dried my chest hair. I'm just making that up, but you can put that in.
The 25th anniversary of ''Three's Company'' is next spring. What would Larry be up to now? He'd be married to Rosie O'Donnell, and basically he'd be carrying her bags. He'd be totally under the thumb of a domineering wife.
Were you as swingin' as Larry in your heyday? Playing Larry was like fulfilling some bizarre male fantasy of going up to any girl...which I could never do in high school because I was always the short guy. I didn't grow until my sophomore year in college. I was not very successful with girls.
What advice do you, Larry Legend, give the young cast of ''Inside Schwartz?'' Don't buy your house yet.
What runs through your mind when you watch ''Three's Company'' reruns on Nick at Nite? I miss my hair! You know me as a young guy, 10 pounds lighter, 5 more pounds of hair, and now you'll see me as an old guy. It will freak you out.
A Review from The LA Times
Inside Schwartz' Is Out of Its League
September 27, 2001|HOWARD ROSENBERG | TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC
NBC's "Inside Schwartz" is a guy show, a dumb guy show, edging the same network's "Emeril" as the most witless new comedy of the season. Here is one of those series that looks bad on paper, then does the unforeseeable, the utterly unthinkable by playing even worse on the screen.
Inspired by ABC's pioneering "Inside Sports," the title refers to sports fanatic Adam Schwartz (Breckin Meyer), who moonlights as a part-time minor league baseball announcer while working for his obnoxiously libidinous father (Richard Kline), who owns a sandwich shop chain.
Young Schwartz's bachelor social life in shambles, each time he has an inner thought or fantasy about his life up pops a sports figure to express it for the TV audience.
As when he's turned off by a date licking his face. Football referee: "Illegal use of tongue!"
If that sends you, so will cameo lines by Bill Walton, Mills Lane and Dick Butkus that sound like they were written by a bunch of palookas getting loaded at a sports bar.
Schwartz on his regular girl kissing him off: "To quote Dick Butkus, 'It ain't over till it's over."'
Butkus: "Trust me, Schwartz, it's over!"
Well, the bellowing electronic laughter loves it.
As it does Eve calling "an audible" in "the Chevrolet play of the game," and sportscasters Kevin Frazier and Van Earl Wright announcing Schwartz's life like a sports event ("Let's check in on the action ... "). Let's not.
Schwartz's pal, Julie (Miriam Shor), is more tolerable than his father, but his other friend, David (Bryan Callen), is only marginally human. All in all, "Inside Schwartz" is guilty of the unforgivable in comedy.
Illegal use of awful jokes.
"Inside Schwartz" premieres tonight at 8:30 on NBC. The network has rated it TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children younger than 14).
A Review from The New York Daily News
SPORTSCASTER COMEDY WHIFFS
BY DAVID BIANCULLI
Thursday, September 27th 2001, 2:23AM
INSIDE SCHWARTZ. Tonight at 8:30, NBC. 1/2 Star.
Last year, it was "Cursed," a show so dismal that its name was changed in midrun to "The Steven Weber Show." Two years ago, it was "Jesse." Before that, "Union Square." Before that, "The Single Guy."
And tonight, continuing an unbroken seven-year string of loser Thursday-night sitcoms in the 8:30 time slot, NBC presents "Inside Schwartz." Viewers who have gotten used to switching channels, or planning other activities, in the half-hour lull between "Friends" and "Just Shoot Me" should plan to maintain their routines.
"Friends," it's worth noting, is the last time NBC developed and presented a solid comedy in the 8:30 time slot; that was 1994, when "Friends" was hammocked between "Mad About You" and "Seinfeld." Seven years later, "Friends" is the best NBC sitcom on Thursday night - and "Inside Schwartz" is the worst.
Breckin Meyer plays Adam Schwartz, an entry-level sportscaster whose private life is peppered with sports-related fantasy sequences and play-by-play commentary.
Typically sorry sample: Adam is kissing a girl goodnight when she leans over and begins licking his face like a mother cat cleaning her young.
"Illegal use of tongue!" screams a referee who pops up in Adam's imagination. "Loss of second date!"
There's a supporting cast, including Bryan Callen from "Mad TV" and Richard Kline from "Three's Company," but no supporting humor. The only arguable laugh in the entire premiere comes when Kline, as Adam's father, gives the name of his chain of takeout gyro restaurants: St. Pita's.
Otherwise, "Inside Schwartz" is as numbing and juvenile as it is predictable. When Adam has an ex-girlfriend he can't forget, and her name is Eve, you know no joke is too lame or low.
Stephen Engel, whose "Just Shoot Me!" is in its sixth season and waning fast, doesn't exactly set himself up with a fresh new franchise here. Or, for that matter, for much chance at a continued Thursday sitcom dynasty."Just Shoot Me!" has degenerated into a disappointing, repetitive, dull sitcom. "Inside Schwartz," his new one, starts out that way.
As for surviving the season and returning next year, "Inside Schwartz" doesn't have an outside chance.
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on November 21, 2001
The benched NBC sports-themed sitcom will return after November sweeps
By Lynette Rice
Hmm, do we sense a trend here? Similar to what happened to the Steven Weber comedy last February, NBC is using the November sweeps to give its post-''Friends'' sitcom ''Inside Schwartz'' a much-needed time-out. Though ''Schwartz,'' about an aspiring sportscaster (Breckin Meyer) with an athletics-themed fantasy life, remains the highest-rated new comedy among adults 18-49, the Peacock wants producers to start retooling. Explains NBC's head of current programming Ted Frank, ''Our sense was that the show needed to make some course corrections... based on our reactions and what research was saying.''
As a result, the fantasy sequences and sports-figure cameos have been scaled way back to give ''Schwartz'' a more ''universal appeal.'' But even Frank admits that it's an uphill battle to keep viewers tuned in at 8:30 p.m. ''This show is in a Dickens time period -- it's the best of time periods and the worst of time periods. You have the greatest lead-in, but 'Friends' is so hot this season, you could even [air] any game of the World Series and it still would be falling off from 'Friends.''' Unless Rachel was throwing out the first pitch.
For more on Inside Schwartz go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Schwartz
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130406183937/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/schwartz.html
For a Webpage dedicated to Breckin Meyer go to http://the-grand-panjandrum.tripod.com/breckin.html
For Bryan Callen's Official Website go to http://www.bryancallen.com/
For The Jennifer Irwin Photo Gallery go to http://www.fanpix.net/gallery/jennifer-irwin-pictures.htm
For a Review of Inside Schwartz go to http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1259928
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Keywords: The Cast of Inside Schwartz