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Accidentally on Purpose aired from September 2009 to April 2010 on CBS.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE, based on the bestselling memoir by Mary F. Pols, was a comedy about a single woman, Billie ( played by Jenna Elfman), who found herself "accidentally" pregnant after a one-night stand with a much younger guy, and decided to keep the baby...and the guy. A newspaper film critic, Billie was barely surviving a humiliating breakup with her charming boss, James ( Grant Show), who was still trying to resume their relationship. Pregnant, after a brief fling with her "boy toy" Zack ( Jon Foster), Billie and Zack made an arrangement to live together platonically. Billie's party girl best friend Olivia ( Ashley Jensen), and Abby, her conventional, younger married sister ( played by Lennon Parham), eagerly looked forward to the new addition and offered their own brands of advice and encouragement. But when Zack and his freeloading friends, including Davis ( Nicolas Wright), started to turn her place into a frat house, Billie wasn't sure if she was living with a boyfriend, a roommate, or if she just had another child to raise.
Here are the lyrics of The Accidentally on Purpose theme song
Rosenbergs - Birds of a Feather
I cant be anything without you,
dont ya know, its a shame...
im sitting at my desk and its noon time,
and i want just to call you...
cause we go together,
just like jam and bread or maybe birds of a feather.
i dont know anything about you,
dont you know, that's the game
im sitting on my bed and i wonder
what will it take for you to call me?
cause we go together
just like jam an bread or maybe birds of a feather..
and hey can you hear me,
when i shout out loud im wishing you could be near me
i dont care if the bills are paid
as long as she is with me
i dont care if my soul is saved
as long as she forgives me
i dont care if the mood is wrong
wishing and Im hoping
i dont need to be an astronaut
as long as you are ki-ki-kissing me.
cause we go together
just like jam and bread or maybe birds of a feather
and hey are ya listening?
when i shout out loud i wish its you i was kissing
I can`t be anything without you (we go together)
Don`t you know, (just like jam and bread)
It`s a shame (or maybe birds of a feather)
I can`t be anything without you (hey are you listening)
Don`t you know, (When I shout out loud)
It`s a shame. (I wish its you I was kissing)
I can`t be anything without you.
An Article about Accidentally on Purpose
Jenna Elfman Thinks She's Found A Winner In 'Accidentally on Purpose'
August 18th, 2009 10:30am EDT
In 1997, Dharma & Greg launched Jenna Elfman to stardom. A movie career and syndication followed. Now it's time to try again. After some TV guest spots and short-lived projects that didn't quite go all the way, Elfman thinks she's found a winner with the new CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose.
"I love comedy so much and I was bound and determined to find another great show," Elfman said. "I count my blessings every day because it's been quite a challenging last four or five years of my life. I have been doing nothing but trying to find another show to do on television that makes me happy, that inspires me, that I feel like I'm in a comedy sandbox doing what I love to do, and I have that with this. So I am honestly so grateful."
Most actors don't land one Dharma & Greg in their career, so going for a double is hard work. The laughter you'll see on TV was earned with blood, sweat and tears, at least metaphorically.
"It's been sort of from one development deal to another and certain attempts and misses here and there, but just nonstop nose to the grindstone. Boy, it was a real test of my endurance, mentally, because it was very challenging. Many times I would go in my backyard, and I would call my agent and go, 'I think I'm just going to move to Montana and quit. I swear. I can't take it.' I get really frustrated but that kind of just goes to show you how hard it is to find great comedies right now. I don't know why. Obviously, if I knew the formula, I would have done it several years ago."
On Accidentally on Purpose, Elfman will play a woman trying to live with the father of her baby after a one night stand and unplanned pregnancy. She thinks she's found a winner.
"Finally, I just went, 'Enough of the development. That's not getting me anywhere. I'm going to be a free agent, and I'm just going to read material that a writer has written on their own out of their own inspiration and see if I can find myself a role in something that's just done.' A week later, I read the script."
Accidentally On Purpose is coming to CBS this fall.
A Review from Variety
Accidentally on Purpose
(Series -- CBS, Mon. Sept. 21, 8:30 p.m.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Filmed in Los Angeles by CBS Television Studios. Executive producers, Claudia Lonow, Lloyd Braun, Gail Berman, Gene Stein; director, Pamela Fryman; writer, Lonow.
Billie - Jenna Elfman
Zack - Jon Foster
Olivia - Ashley Jensen
Abby - Lennon Parham
Davis - Nicolas Wright
James - Grant Show
Think of "Accidentally on Purpose" as "How I Knocked Up Your Mother ... Who Decided to Keep the Baby." Jenna Elfman remains charming enough, though she's morphed from the free-spirited Dharma into a more grounded and responsible movie critic (oxymoronic, yes) who beds a younger man -- yielding unintended consequences, if not much hilarity. The pilot is breezy enough, and there are solid supporting players, including Ashley Jensen and Grant Show. Those ingredients, however, are thus far more promising than what first comes out of the oven.
Having broken up with her dashing but commitment-phobic boss (Show) after he balks at proposing, Elfman's 37-year-old Billie winds up in bed with a twentysomething dude named Zack (Jon Foster). At first giddy and a little horrified, after a few trysts that she likens to "young candy," Billie quickly discovers (this is one fast-moving half-hour) that she's pregnant; Zack, an aspiring chef in need of a place to stay, insists he wants a role in the baby's life.
Thus begins a sort-of clash of not-quite generations, with Zack and his slacker friends entering Billie's world. The twentysomething guys provide something of a fit with the "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory" components of CBS' Monday comedy block, though nobody will confuse these nitwits with the genius variety.
Jensen ("Ugly Betty") is consistently good company as Billie's pal, Lennon Parham has moments as the protagonist's bubbly sister, and Elfman gets to widen her eyes a lot in response to big surprises.
At the very least, the pregnancy plot offers reasonably ripe territory to mine in a semi-serialized way, although like the whole backward-love-story template (pregnancy first, relationship to follow), the key will be at what pace all that develops. On the plus side for the show, with CBS consolidating its strength from 9-10 p.m. by moving "Big Bang" behind "Two and a Half Men," the network can give "Accidentally" time to gestate as long as it doesn't completely squander what should be "Mother's" modest lead-in.
Of course, the plot outlines are something of a fantasy, otherwise Zack would head for the hills when Billie gives him the opportunity, and the San Francisco newspaper employing her would lay off half its staff, starting with the movie critic. Fortunately, comedies where unplanned pregnancies become the source of laugh lines are mercifully immune from such bummers.
Camera, Christian La Fountaine; production designer, Steve Olson; editor, Sue Federman; casting, Lisa Miller Katz. Running time: 30 MIN.
A Review from The New York Times
Older Woman, Younger Man and Baby Makes Three
By MIKE HALE
Published: September 20, 2009
Back at the turn of the century Dharma & Greg lasted for five full seasons on ABC despite the fact that any time you brought it up, someone would say, Yeah, it's funny, but there's something about Jenna Elfman that kind of bugs me. People saw a quality in her a hard edge, a dourness that wasn't quite right for situation comedy. But the show succeeded anyway, maybe because those people were in the minority, or maybe because Chuck Lorre was its co-creator and one of its lead writers.
Mr. Lorre is now the king of comedy at CBS, where his shows Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory compete to be the most popular sitcom on television. This week Ms. Elfman joins them in CBS's Monday-night comedy block. Unfortunately for her, Mr. Lorre's name appears nowhere in the credits of her new show, Accidentally on Purpose.
Ms. Elfman plays Billie, a 37-year-old film critic at a San Francisco newspaper. (What do we not see her doing for even one second during the pilot? That's right, watching a movie or writing a review.) After three years of dating the paper's gazillionaire owner or editor it's not clear which he is, since no one does any actual work she dumps him for failure to propose and shortly thereafter has a one-night stand with a 20-something sous-sous-chef. Pregnancy ensues.
At this point several observations can be made. One is that Accidentally on Purpose frames this set-up in a slightly queasy way: as the title suggests, Billie sort of, kind of lets herself get knocked up by the penniless Zack (Jon Foster). (That's the one essential difference between the show's premise and that of the film Knocked Up. )
The writers cover for her by having her tell Zack that she expects nothing from him. But in that case there would be no show, so Zack does the totally unconvincing I-want-to-be-involved routine, and she's so touched, she asks him to move in. Except that now she won't have sex with him.
You could spend some time pondering the weirdly mixed but mostly retrograde sexual dynamics at work here. (After her desperation to marry the gazillionaire, the notion of marrying the guy who actually got her pregnant but lives in his van is never even alluded to.) But you'll probably be too distracted by something else: the fact that a show so generically traditional, so sitcommy, actually made it on the air.
Plenty of other series, particularly on CBS, look and sound like traditional sitcoms, but at least the people in them seem to be aware that it's 2009 or thereabouts. Accidentally on Purpose, with its matching sets of friends for Billie and Zack, its bland jokes, its lack of any sort of topicality, its Jenna Elfman, feels as if it could have been on any time in the last two decades.
Of course we're supposed to think that the difference in Billie's and Zack's ages the cougar thing makes the show up to date. And it's probably notable that Ms. Elfman is playing a character her own age and that she's actually more than a decade older than her co-star. But the humor derived from that situation is negligible so far. This is actually one of the better exchanges in the pilot:
Zack: I don't know how they did things in your day, but nowadays girls say stuff like, Hey, dude, I'm not on the pill.
Billie: In my day? This is still my day. It's not even lunch in my day.
Cue the laugh track. It should be said that Grant Show gives a graceful performance as James, Billie's boss, and looks fantastic at 47, and Ashley Jensen reprises her Ugly Betty role as the randy Scottish broad, here Billie's best friend, Olivia. Larry Wilmore, so scabrously funny on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, shows up for a few seconds in the pilot as a doctor and is given nothing to do but smile beatifically, which pretty much sums up the creative ambitions of Accidentally on Purpose.
And Ms. Elfman? She's as funny as the script allows, in that broad, robo-comic way you may remember from Dharma & Greg. The chances that she'll get to hang around for five seasons seem slimmer this time.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE
CBS, Monday nights at 8:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 7:30, Central time.
Created and written by Claudia Lonow; directed by Pamela Fryman; Ms. Lonow, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein, executive producers. Produced by CBS Productions.
WITH: Jenna Elfman (Billie), Jon Foster (Zack), Ashley Jensen (Olivia), Lennon Parham (Abby), Grant Show (James), Nicolas Wright (Davis) and Larry Wilmore (Dr. Roland).
A Review from The New York Daily News
Jenna Elfman is funny on new CBS sitcom 'Accidentally on Purpose'
DAILY NEWS TV CRITIC
Monday, September 21, 2009
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE
Monday night at 9, CBS
The right star can turn a routine sitcom into a good sitcom. Jenna Elfman does that for "Accidentally on Purpose."
Elfman, best known as the front half of "Dharma and Greg," plays Billie, a film critic in her 30s who doesn't realize how loudly her biological clock was ticking until she's looking at sonograms of the baby.
Rebounding from a frustrating relationship with her boss, James (a suitably obnoxious Grant Show), Billie goes out for a drink with her girlfriend, Olivia (Ashley Jensen), who always seems to be going out for a drink.
Billie is approached by a cluster of slackers and wittily dismisses all of them except a hot young stud named Zack (Jon Foster), with whom she goes home.
The next day, she does some hilarious gushing to Olivia and her sensible married sister, Abby (Lennon Parham), about her night with Zack. "It was like candy," she pants. "Young candy!"
And there it might sit, another of this TV season's many cougar moments, until, a few weeks later, the stick turns the color of "pregnant."
Billie hunts down Zack, to tell him and assure him he has no obligations. He replies that, of course, he does. He wants to be there for her, in his own young-candy way. At the moment, for instance, he's living in his van.
She invites him to stay at her place, somehow not realizing he's still part of a package deal with those aforementioned slacker pals.
So there's the setup for "Accidentally on Purpose." One posse of semi-sensible women, one posse of good-natured but entirely irresponsible men, linked by one baby in progress.
Irresponsible guys and impulsive women are hardly new elements in the sitcom world and Elfman's Billie is not unrelated to characters played by the likes of Christina Applegate and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
But Elfman gives Billie her own mix of practicality and passion, surrendering happily to some desires even as she tries to maintain control in a situation that requires a lot of improv.
She and Zack don't sleep together, for instance, when he first arrives. If you sense this could provide some comic tension as the weeks go by, give yourself a gold sitcom star.
The rest of the cast, notably Jensen and slacker Davis (Nicholas Wright), feed the humor without looking like they're just killing time until their next one-liner.
If this whole situation seems familiar, it is. Sitcoms have been putting odd groups of people together in small apartments since before television existed. And so what? If we like the people, it doesn't matter and Billie is someone we could get to like quite a bit.
A Review from Media Life
Purpose,' knocked off
CBS sitcom closely follows the hit movie 'Knocked Up'
By Tom Conroy
Sep 21, 2009
There's nothing wrong with cribbing from a hit movie to make a sitcom, as long as the departures from the original are um original.
But Accidentally on Purpose merely overlays the premise of Knocked Up a mismatched couple has an unplanned pregnancy and decides to stay together with a heavy dose of overused sitcom devices, including the already-tired cougar theme.
The series, which premieres tonight on CBS at 8:30, does have a skilled, likable cast, and the jokes are plentiful and sometimes funny.
While Accidentally on Purpose is not an exact copy of Knocked Up, it's close enough that it could be called Knocked Off. Like Katherine Heigl's character in Knocked Up, Billie (Jenna Elfman) is a journalist who sleeps with a basically nice but unsuccessful guy and gets pregnant during what she thought was a one-night stand.
The father-to-be, Zack (Jon Foster) is somewhat more ambitious than the Seth Rogen character; he's a chef, one of TV's go-to jobs when writers want to let viewers know that a character is a nice guy.
But the scenes with Zack's group of slacker friends look like videotaped outtakes from Knocked Up, or from dozens of other post- Slackers movies and TV shows about videogaming, pot-smoking youths.
Ashley Jensen, who plays Billie's hard-drinking, trampy office buddy, is just as funny as she was when she played the exact same character on Ugly Betty.
The older-woman angle Billie is 37; Zack is in his 20s has been the subject of so many TV episodes plots and subplots that even when the writers come up with fresh jokes, the insights behind them are old.
Viewers who watch too much TV may be reminded of ABC's failed 2000 sitcom Then Came You, in which the thirtyish woman was a book editor Billie is a film critic and the twentysomething lover was a waiter, not a chef.
What's odd is that although Accidentally on Purpose seems to be based entirely on the writers observations of other TV shows and movies, it's actually based on a memoir of the same name by Mary F. Pols.
Shot in the old-school multiple-camera format like CBS's other Monday-night sitcoms, the show is written like a single-camera sitcom (like NBC's Thursday comedies). The jokes come so fast that the people in the studio audience wouldn't be laughing after each one; half the time, they would be would be saying What? because the laughter from one punch line would have drowned out the next.
Besides raising suspicions that the audience's laughter has been heavily sweetened, this traditional format adds to the feeling we've seen this all before.
Jenna Elfman does raise everything a notch, radiating star quality and barreling through the implausibilities in the script.
Jon Foster does the best he can playing a fantasy figure, an impossibly nice, attractive and responsible guy with nothing in his own life to prevent him from devoting himself to his prospective child. By Pols account, his real-life counterpart is much more complicated.
This being a situation comedy, the premiere episode has to set up the situation, rushing through several life-changing decisions. After 22 minutes, we're already into what movie screenwriters would call act three.
It's difficult to see where the series can go next week and for the rest of the season. The creators seem unwilling to address the fact that this situation has more potential for heartbreak than laughter.
Still, Elfman proves in the premiere that she is capable of diverting viewers attention from this inconvenient truth. And a good time slot, between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men appropriately enough, between courtship and divorce should help.
A Review from the Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
Bubbly, but no fizz to Elfman sitcom
By Matthew Gilbert
September 21, 2009
Jenna Elfman is bubbly, and if bubbly isn't your bag, you have no business watching Accidentally on Purpose. The humdrum CBS sitcom, premiering tonight at 8:30 on Channel 4, is a vehicle for the former star of Dharma & Greg, where she played a bubbly hippie chick with bubbly marital issues. This time, she's doing pregnant-cougar-bubbly, featuring lots of bubbly romantic banter with the boy who knocked her up.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE Starring: Jenna Elfman, Ashley Jensen, Jon Foster, Grant Show
On: CBS, Channel 4
Time: Tonight, 8:30-9
And knocked up is the best phrase, because this series plays a bit like an adaptation of the movie with that title. In fact, though, Accidentally on Purpose is based on a memoir by Mary F. Pols, a Bay Area film critic in her late 30s who got pregnant during a fling with a guy in his 20s. Elfman plays the pregnant critic Billie, who whimsically decides to let her boy toy, Zack (Jon Foster), move in with her strictly as a roommate. Of course, flirtation ensues, as does generational clash as Zack and his slacker buddies offend Billie's more adult sensibilities.
Lurking in the background is Billie's ex-boyfriend and editor, James, played as a noncommittal and nonbubbly guy's guy by Grant Show. James is the man to Zack's boy, and surely there will be triangular tensions as the series unfolds, assuming it unfolds. To be honest, after his impressive turn on Swingtown, I had hoped Show would be more selective about his TV appearances. He couldn't have climbed aboard a less original sitcom than Accidentally on Purpose, which is as predictable as How I Met Your Mother, the show that precedes it, is inventive.
The stereotypes in play on Accidentally on Purpose are flat, if harmless, from the get-go. Zack and his buddies are frat-boy video-gamers, one of whom uses Billie's grandmother's urn as a water pipe. Billie and her requisite pair of sex-and-the-city pals, one of whom, Olivia (Ashley Jensen), is the requisite lush, have requisite girl talk. And the whole cougar theme, which is also in play on ABC's upcoming Cougar Town with Courteney Cox, needs to be declared dead. There's no more funny left in that particular pop trend, nor does it connote female empowerment any longer when women lust after younger men. It simply connotes lust.
There are, of course, more offensive sitcoms out there, and dumber ones, too. But Accidentally on Purpose is so contrived, you feel as though you've seen it already while you're watching it for the first time. Alas, no amount of carbonation can solve that problem.
A Review from the LA Times
Jenna Elfman's career won't likely advance in this slight comedy about a career woman who's unexpectedly pregnant. But the door is open to interesting plot directions.
September 21, 2009|
ROBERT LLOYD, TELEVISION CRITIC
First impressions count, and "Accidentally on Purpose," the new Jenna Elfman comedy, begins with a poor one. Ashley Jensen -- an intelligent, subtle actress who has done lovely work on "Ugly Betty" and "Extras" -- speaks: "I can't do another office party; I've already slept with everyone here."
Alas, poor Ashley. Seconds later, she is advising Elfman, who is here named Billie and has slept only with their boss (Grant Show), to "perk up" her nipples to attract his attention. This Billie duly attempts, flicking fingers at her chest. It hurts! Alas, poor Family Hour!
Perhaps this would make more sense if these were not the offices of a -- sound of clearing throat -- daily newspaper. (I can say with a fair amount of assurance that the words, "I can't do another office party; I've already slept with everyone here," have never been said at this newspaper, at least not in that order.) But, whatever! Billie, we see in a flashback, left the paper's dashing "gajillionaire" owner atop the Eiffel Tower (pause again for moment of cognitive dissonance), when he surprised her not with a hoped-for wedding ring but a piece of marzipan in the shape of a camera, "because you're a film critic -- the best one at my newspaper." Billie is a film critic partly because Mary F. Pols, who wrote the memoir on which the show is loosely based, has been a film critic herself, though for the purposes of the series -- which will find her pregnant after a random night with the very much younger Zack (Jon Foster) -- it signals that she is both arty and responsible, grown but not grown old. (Though, apart from a Meg Ryan joke and a reference to "Gone With the Wind," there is nothing of the film critic about her -- where is the obsessiveness, the pallor?)
Zack, on the other hand, is a person of a no fixed abode, apart from his van, which tells us he is yet unformed, though his job as the "second assistant to a semi-important sous-chef" distinguishes him from his cartoon-slacker friends.
The show bears easy comparison to Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," and there is some confluence with Courteney Cox's new series, "Cougar Town." But it also has something in common with its network neighbor "The Big Bang Theory," another culture-clash comedy featuring a hot blond and a clutch of socially backward young men.
To see some clips from Accidentally on Purpose go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=accidentally+on+purpose&aq=f
For the Official Jenna Elfman site go to http://www.jennaelfman.com/
To hear the theme song of Accidentally on Purpose go to http://www.televisiontunes.com/Accidentally_on_Purpose.html and to hear the full theme song go to http://www.televisiontunes.com/Accidentally_of_Purpose_-_Full.html
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