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Big Day aired from November 2006 until January 2007 on ABC.
A young couple's chaotic wedding day played out in real time in this frantic sitcom. Sweet, worried Alice ( Marla Sokoloff) and happy-go-lucky camp counselor Danny ( Josh Cooke)were the lovebirds. Bossy Jane ( Wendie Mallick) and bearlike Dr. Steve ( Kurt Fuller) were Alice's controlling parents, and Becca ( Miriam Shor)her rebellious semi-goth sister, who slept with Danny's best friend Skobo( Stephen Rannazzisi), then accidentally swallowed his contact lenses, rendering him virtually blind for the rest of the day. Neurotic wedding planner Lorna (Stephnie Weir)rushed about with a microphone on her sleeve, and Danny's gay black friend Freddy ( Leslie Odom, Jr.) and Alice's impolitic ex-boyfriend Johnny ( Terry Chen) added to the uproar. As the ceremony neared Alice and Danny got so stressed they tried to run off and elope, but his car broke down and they were soon back in the wedding tent in back of her daddy's big house. The ceremony then began only to be stopped by a mysterious mystery woman.
A Review from Variety
(Series -- ABC, Tues., Nov. 28, 9 p.m.)
By PHIL GALLO
Marla Sokoloff and Josh Cooke play a couple about to be married in 'Big Day,' which plays out in real-time installments, a la Fox's '24.'
Taped in Los Angeles by Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Josh Goldmsith, Cathy Yuspa; producer, Jason Fisher; associate producer, Scott Schofield; director, Michael Spiller; writers, Goldsmith, Yuspa.
Alice - Marla Sokoloff
Danny - Josh Cooke
Jane - Wendie Malick
Steve - Kurt Fuller
Becca - Miriam Shor
Skobo - Stephen Rannazzisi
Lorna - Stephnie Weir
With: Terry Chen, Leslie Odom Jr., Soledad St. Hilaire, Annie Katsura Rollins, Tony Winters.
Marla Sokoloff and Josh Cooke make a very cute couple as Alice and Danny. Two lovebirds on their wedding day, they're about to face roadblocks and mishaps, uncooperative family and friends and tests of their love for each other. "Big Day" starts at 8 a.m. and takes place in real time -- "24" as a romantic comedy. But with too many one-note jokes and characters, insufficient barrel laughs and too much controlled chaos, "Big Day" will be lucky if it even makes it to the afternoon let alone a walk down the aisle.
For creators Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, a married couple, it's their second marriage-themed show to land in primetime this season. "Big Day" is no improvement on the generally weak "'Til Death," ostensibly an extension of their fine work on "King of Queens." "Big Day" benefits from a parade of characters beyond Alice and Danny, yet Goldsmith and Yuspa don't generate any individuals to reach beyond cliche.
We get the best man/maid of honor hookup that becomes a running joke after Becca (Miriam Shor), the bride's sister, accidentally swallows the contact lenses of Skobo (Stephen Rannazzisi), Danny's remarkably shallow best friend. Mom Jane (Wendie Malick) is controlling and stubborn, a fact born out by an overlong and unfunny fight over salad. Dad Steve (Kurt Fuller) isn't too fond of Danny -- he finds him immature -- as a doctor would when told his future son-in-law is a camp counselor.
The entourage includes the wedding planner Lorna (Stephnie Weir), Danny's eccentric father and the secretly gay friend, none of whom gives the show needed wackiness.
There's an unseen enemy, too: the Rupert-Chenowith wedding that has most of this unnamed Northeast town's service providers tied up so that every molehill can become a mountain for Alice, Jane and Lorna. But after watching the three episodes supplied -- with weather, sex, a massage, food and handful of accidents fouling up wedding plans -- one has to wonder how many screw-ups can possibly occur before the couple takes off for their honeymoon.
Sokoloff and Cooke have a chemistry that's this sitcom's lone saving grace. Megan Branman has surrounded the betrothed duo with a generally able cast, and David Schwartz has created a lively score. Using an idea from "24," each episode ends with a neat sweep through the family house to let viewers know exactly where each character will be when the show picks up in a week.
While the writers fess up to stealing Chevy Chase's "doctor, doctor" bit from "Spies Like Us," they don't admit to nicking the idea of a person having a theme song from "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka." There's also a tip of the hat to "Say Anything." (Of course, it's the boom box raised over the head moment; this time without the poignancy).
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Published Nov. 24, 2006
D By Gillian Flynn
Featuring all the tension and the squabbling and the complete, nonsensical silliness, ABC's Big Day is a ''real-time'' breakdown of a couple's wedding day, half hour by excruciating half hour. Posh, shallow, overblown nuptials are a very short leash to chain a comedy to: In the first three episodes available for review, there are a dozen nasty fights about such ridiculous topics as seating charts and the questionable merits of Caesar salad. We all know people can get goofy over flower arrangements and chocolate drizzle cake, but knowing that and wanting to see it each week are two very different things. Likable characters can get away with random fits of insanity; Big Day has no likable characters. Perhaps for the sake of gender equality, there is no single Bridezilla here everyone acts like an idiot. The groom (Four Kings' Josh Cooke) is a daffy, oblivious man-boy; the bride (The Practice's Marla Sokoloff) is a rich baby-girl prone to weeping; her mom (Just Shoot Me's Wendie Malick) is an uptight, controlling matron. Malick, with her regal carriage, can occasionally pull off a shimmer of a laugh. But just a shimmer.
It takes a very clever hand to make irritating situations amusing. Both Father of the Bride movies (mostly) managed this because they had amiable if manic personalities. Big Day has only a bunch of stereotypical self-centered brats (here comes the bride's randy ex-boyfriend!) darting in and out of rooms, worrying about mojito bars and crepe stations. No one wants to be like those people and no one should have to watch them.
A Review from USA TODAY
'Big Day': Another soggy serial idea
Posted 11/27/2006 8:29 PM ET
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Brace yourself for another bad day.
The latest adherent to one of the fall's less propitious trends the one-event/one-season serial Big Day invites you to make a weekly wedding commitment as the marital day plays out in real time. You can almost hear the pitch meeting: 24 meets Father of the Bride, an idea that apparently struck ABC as irresistible.
Those ABC executives may want to think back to the last time they actually spent an entire prenuptial year listening to some bride obsess over her upcoming wedding. How entertaining was that?
Even so, the bigger problem with Big Day, as with so many sitcoms now, is that the show is all structure and no substance. It isn't enough to come up with some novel way to tell a story; eventually you have to have a story to tell.
And that's where Day fails as the show clings to the false hope that its gimmick can make up for its cardboard, conventional characters and its inability to find anything amusing, original or truthful to say.
Created by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, who have already abused marriage and their TV privileges with the even worse 'Til Death, Big Day has at least gathered a personable cast for its bridal party. Marla Sokoloff and Josh Cooke star as the bride and groom, and the ablest support comes from Wendie Malick as the bride's mother and from Stephnie Weir as the flustered wedding planner.
The performers are all fine, but they're playing characters we've seen a thousand times; the hyper bride, the controlling mother, the bumbling father (Kurt Fuller). As for the characters we haven't seen as often, such as the ex-boyfriend who keeps talking about the bride's sexual habits, let's hope we never have to see them again.
Tonight, there are quickly resolved battles over a salad and the groom's desire to march down the aisle to his own theme song.
Then there's the lingering problem caused by the bride's trampy sister (Miriam Shor), who has a one-night stand with the best man (Stephen Rannazzisi) before blinding him by swallowing his contacts. It's hard to say what's sadder: the joke or the writers' belief that the joke is worth a multiple-episode stretch.
To be fair, there is one fairly original plot twist: the conflict caused when the father of the groom accidentally gives the mother of the bride an orgasm. Which just goes to show that "new idea" and "good idea" are not synonymous.
Still, here's the good thing about being invited to a stranger's wedding: You're not obligated to attend. In this case, just send your regrets and move on.
A Review from The Washington Post
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
The Altar-Bound Antics of 'Big Day' Are Hard to Love
By Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 28, 2006;
ABC's "Big Day" is a little sitcom with big aspirations, so its creators aren't afraid to steal from their betters who have gone before them. First the conceit: The series is based on the events of one wedding day -- a rip-off of "24." (If, that is, Jack Bauer were the committing type and his show lasted a half-hour.)
Then there's the look: Everything's shot in hand-held camera style, casting Southern Cali suburbia in a gauzy Day-Glo, a la Wisteria Lane. And then there are the familiar gags: A randy wedding guest hooks up with slutty sister of the bride ("Wedding Crashers"). The boombox held aloft to demonstrate undying love and fealty ("Say Anything"). Not to mention bits from an old Chevy Chase movie and the general hijacking of wedding-day high jinks from "Father of the Bride" (of the Steve Martin, not Spencer Tracy, provenance).
"Big Day," written by the married team of Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, doesn't have an original bone in its carefully constructed body, which would be a pardonable offense if it were actually funny. Which, alas, it is not.
It begins at 8 a.m., the morning of the wedding of Alice (Marla Sokoloff) and Danny (Josh Cooke), a pretty pair with a penchant for pouting. So what if Danny, a camp counselor, doesn't have health insurance or a gig that Alice's dad (Kurt Fuller) approves of? (We don't learn if Alice is gainfully employed or not.) So what if Alice forced Danny to include her still-besotted ex in the wedding party? Or that Alice's mom (the always excellent Wendie Malick) is a control freak, but still hot in that older-woman way, and Danny may have "inappropriate feelings" for her?
They're in love! What could possibly go wrong?
"I love you a lot, and we are 10 hours away from getting married," Alice says. "But if anything goes wrong before then, I think I could snap in a pretty scary way."
Presumably this means viewers can count on at least 10 episodes to stretch out the chaos until Alice and Danny finally make it down the aisle, providing the viewer with plenty of opportunities to watch Alice snap in said scary way. Problem is, you can call the pitfalls before they actually befall Danny and Alice. The bits practically announce themselves with a bullhorn: Alice and her mother have a screech-off over proletarian Caesar salad vs. highfalutin baby greens with pear vinaigrette. Danny's best man loses his contacts! (Don't ask.) Watch him trip down stairs and bump into things. Again. And again. And again.
The frenzy is piled on to dizzying effect -- wacky wedding planner! secretly gay friend with the hots for the groom! the photographer who gets hit by a truck! -- so much so that you can see the writers behind the curtain whipping themselves into a froth at their keyboards.
There's a craft to comedy, a symphony of timing, one-liners and sight gags. "Big Day" never gets beyond feeling like an overconfident garage band mashing out cover songs.
To watch clips of Big Day go to https://www.youtube.com/user/bigdayspt
For an interview with Marla Sokoloff go to http://www.canmag.com/news/4/21/5910
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Keywords: Big Day Cast