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Barbershop: The Series aired from August until October 2005 on the Showtime Cable Network.
The daily life of a Chicago based Barbershop owner.
A Review From Variety
Sun., Aug. 7, 2005,
Barbershop: The Series
(Series -- Showtime, Sun. Aug. 14, 10 p.m.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Omar Gooding is the owner of an inner-city barber shop in the Showtime series based on the pair of theatrical films.
Filmed in Los Angeles by MGM Television Entertainment. Executive producers, John Ridley, Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr., Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez; co-executive producer, Matt Wickline; supervising producers, Ali LeRoi, Stacy Littlejohn; producer, Gordon Buz' Wolf; director-writer, Ridley.
Calvin - Omar Gooding
Yinka - Gbenga Akinnagbe
Jen - Anna Brown
Isaac - John Wesley Chatham
Jimmy - Leslie Elliard
Eddie - Barry Shabaka Henley
Terri - Toni Trucks
Romadal - Dan White
Messy, unruly but occasionally quite funny, "Barbershop" doubtless could use a trim here and there, and perhaps a little extra styling. Yet in its unassuming way, the series breezily picks up where the movie and its sequel left off, casting Omar Gooding as the inner-city barbershop proprietor juggling an eccentric mix of scissor-meisters and neighborhood denizens. Buoyed by built-in title recognition and the sort of venue that should provide a fertile breeding ground for stories, the series seems rife with possibilities and deserves attention beyond its urban niche.
Admittedly, it takes a while to get reoriented as to who is playing whom. Gooding (yes, Cuba's brother) supplants exec producer Ice Cube as Calvin, who operates the Chicago shop he inherited from his father. When not shearing afros, there is wide-ranging banter among the disparate employees, including philosophy-spouting elder statesman Eddie (Barry Shabaka Henley), combative lone-gal Terri (Toni Trucks) and African immigrant Yinka (Gbenga Akinnagbe), whose fitful grasp of English makes every sentence an adventure.
Written and directed by John Ridley and shot in the single-camera format, the premiere has a little too much going on, with three parallel plots. Yinka takes words too literally to master dirty sex talk, while Terri's rage issues keep leading to unfortunate run-ins with the police. Then there's Calvin's home life, as wife Jen (Anna Brown) prods him to hire a distantly related ex-con (Dan White) with a legendary mean streak.
Busily flitting among those stories, the opener proves somewhat light on the tart political dialogue that spurred controversy but also helped distinguish the original.
Nevertheless, there are some clever situations and lines here, such as Eddie comparing a man talking dirty to his wife to "hunting in the zoo." And while the cast is somewhat uneven, Gooding proves a likable presence as the show's foundation, grappling with both his nuclear and extended families.
Coming on the heels of "Soul Food," this latest adaptation was something of a no-brainer for Showtime, whose programming quilt has always carved out patches for minority audiences. The real challenge will be to demonstrate "Barbershop's" broader appeal, as the movie did, by finding a tool to help cut across those kinds of arbitrary boundaries.
A Review From The New York Times
TV Review | 'Barbershop'
They Cut Heads (Those Wacky Barbers of Showtime)
By ANITA GATES
Published: August 13, 2005
It's easy to imagine the meeting in which Tim Story's 2002 movie, "Barbershop," was transformed into the Showtime series of the same name.
All right, someone would say, what we have here is the story of a barber who inherited his father's shop on the South Side of Chicago and is now thinking about selling the place, which leads him to re-evaluate his personal values. And some wacky characters work for him. So let's lose the selling-the-shop premise and the examination of values, but keep the wacky characters.
This is exactly what John Ridley (whose writing resume includes "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and the story on which the film "Three Kings" was based) appears to have done in "Barbershop," the half-hour comedy series, which has its premiere on Sunday night. And there isn't much left.
The role of Calvin Palmer, the shop owner played by Ice Cube in the film and its sequel, has gone to Omar Gooding, Cuba Gooding Jr.'s younger brother. Omar Gooding is a pleasant enough fellow, but his character's deepest conflict seems to be about whether to stand up to his wife when she insists that he hire her "sister's husband's brother's wife's uncle's kid," who has just been released from prison.
In addition to exuding warmth and a sense of continuity and community, the first film had some shock value. The shop's elder employee, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), offended some people by making jokes about Rodney King, O. J. Simpson and Rosa Parks. (Maybe, he suggested, Ms. Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus in Montgomery back in 1955 just because she was tired.)
The television Eddie (Barry Shabaka Henley) is reduced to questioning the sexuality of Star Jones's husband and criticizing Will Smith for being too sensitive on screen. The most daring remark about a well-known black person is spoken by the shop's only white employee, Isaac (John Wesley Chatham), who, in extolling the virtues of Cognac, says, "If Kobe Bryant had had some Courvoisier on him, he wouldn't have had to shell out that $13 million." In the films, Isaac (played by Troy Garity, the son of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden) was a hip young guy whose identification with black culture was clear. Mr. Chatham looks naive and ill at ease.
As Calvin's wife, Jen, Anna Brown looks pretty but sometimes seems uncomfortable with her dialogue. She does have the occasional character-revealing line, however. ("You don't spend a year and a half studying hotel management if you don't have dreams.")
The show's biggest asset is Toni Trucks, making her television debut as Terri Jones, a barber who does not know or want to know the meaning of the term anger management. When Terri "goes off," as she says, it is a wonder to behold.
Her character is central to the premiere episode, in which she is mistaken for a young woman who had a consultation at an abortion clinic. Too bad Mr. Ridley saw fit to explain her personality problems with a pat speech about having been brought up in unloving foster homes. And the gag about Terri's appearing mentally disturbed when she talks angrily with her hands is a little strained.
So is the subplot about the employee from Nigeria (Gbenga Akinnagbe) needing guidance in "talking dirty" to women. The Nigerian character's name has been changed from Dinka, in the movies, to Yinka.
The other series regulars are Dan White as Romadal Dupree, the tough ex-con whom Calvin hires against his better judgment, and Leslie Elliard as Jimmy James, a local politician who tries to bribe a policewoman with $10. They, like their fellow cast members, have an uphill battle to give this series some heart.
Showtime, Sunday night at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
John Ridley, writer, director and executive producer; Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr., Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez, executive producers; Matt Wickline, co-executive producer; Gordon Wolf, producer.
WITH: Omar Gooding (Calvin Palmer), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Yinka), Anna Brown (Jen Palmer), John Wesley Chatham (Isaac Rosenberg), Leslie Elliard (Jimmy James), Barry Shabaka Henley (Eddie), Toni Trucks (Terri Jones) and Dan White (Romadal Dupree).
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
By Mark Harris Mark Harris
Fans of the 2002 comedy Barbershop should be warned that Showtime's sitcomized version is missing the following elements that were key to the movie's success: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, believability, a sense of place, and a sense of humor. This is worth mourning because Barbershop was not just smart and funny but surprising an ''urban'' (that's marketing-speak for African-American) comedy that offered a talented ensemble's great, easy interaction, pungent and sometimes jaw-dropping commentary on sex, race, politics, class, and history (thank you, Cedric!), and an atmospheric take on African-American life in a genre that too often settles for the crass antics of a Tyler Perry.
There is no evidence that the minds behind Barbershop (the Showtime version) noticed any of this; what seems to have quickened their appetites was that the movie's one-set location makes it easy to reimagine as a sitcom. That, and an opportunity to vulgarize every element. The movie's characters Calvin the put-upon barbershop owner, Eddie the elder loudmouth, Terri the angry chick, Isaac the white fish-out-of-water are intact (though none of the original cast has stuck around), but they've all been coarsened and cheapened. Now Calvin makes raw sex jokes about his wife, Eddie riffs on Star Jones' husband and Michael Jackson (now there's a daring target), and Isaac, underplayed with such gentle mellowness by Troy Garity in the movie, has been turned from a nice little essay on what it's like to be the white minority having to prove oneself in a black universe into a yammering Vanilla Ice-flavored sight gag (he thinks he's black! but he looks like Matt Damon! get it?).
To prove its cable-readiness, Barbershop offers curses, nipples, and a stream of the kind of lightly homophobic humor that's a reliable go-to for any sitcom writer who isn't willing to work to find a laugh anywhere else. Each episode begins with unnecessary voice-over from Calvin (Omar Gooding, Cuba's brother, who's talented but can't quite pull off the good-natured grumpiness that Ice Cube, a series exec producer, brought to the role) that runs along the lines of ''When you run a neighborhood barbershop, that makes you the center of the urban universe.'' Is there any surer sign that a show doesn't trust its audience? Funny how in 11 years of Cheers the writers never felt compelled to have Sam Malone explain to us that a local bar offers an amusing microcosm of colorful characters.
Mindful of the publicity won by Cedric's rants about Rosa Parks in the movie, the creators of Barbershop the series have clearly been encouraged to push the envelope, but when they try, they just rip through the bottom. Episode 2 features the arrival of a popular African-American clothing chain called Niggaz (the occasion for about 50 spectacularly dull-minded ''Niggaz is movin' in!'' jokes); the gang is excited until they find out that the owner is...Korean. It's so bent on being daring (daring circa 1989's Do the Right Thing) that it forgets to be funny. At one point, Calvin says, ''Even the cast of Girlfriends'd be neck-rolling their sassy heads in disgust.'' You bet they would and then they'd change the channel.
A Review from Blogcritics Magazine
Review: Barbershop: The Series
Written by Sterfish
Published August 17, 2005
After finding success with the TV adaptation of Soul Food, Showtime has decided to turn another popular African-American film, Barbershop, into a TV series. Unfortunately, unlike Soul Food's TV version, which was pretty decent, Barbershop is terrible. It's as unfunny as a pile of barber hair.
The major problem with the show is that the people behind it decided to dumb down the characterizations. The characters in the Barbershop films actually had some depth. The characters in the TV series are reduced to very broad, two-dimensional people. For example, in the movies, Terri (the character Eve played) got mad often but also had a sweet, vulnerable side. In the series' first episode, Terri is turned into the ultimate angry black woman. She gets very angry at every little thing. A running gag has her getting arrested more than once because whenever she gets angry, it looks like she's threatening the person she's talking to. Even new characters suffer from pathetic characterization. Romadal, an ex-con that Calvin hires on the advice of his wife, can basically be summed up by saying that he's rude and that he calls everyone "bitch."
The weak characterizations could be tolerated if the characters were at least given something funny to say or do, but they don't. Most of the jokes fall flat. Like the films, the show attempts to mine humor from controversial subjects. The results are cheap and unrealistic. Terri is hounded by both a pro-choice and a pro-life abortion activist because the person who stole her identity went to an abortion clinic. These scenes are flat out boring and the resolution is shallow and predictable. The storyline that came the closest to being funny is the one that had Calvin trying to teach Yinka (changed from Dinka because Yinka is an actual African name) how to talk dirty.
One thing I should mention about Barbershop the show is that it is now a show firmly for adults. While the movies stayed in PG-13 territory, the first episode of the TV show not only dropped a couple of f-bombs (and some other salty language), but it also contained some nudity and sexual dialogue (courtesy of the Calvin/Yinka storyline). I personally don't mind the adult content. I just wish that the show was funnier.
Based on the first episode, Barbershop is a disaster. The actors try their best to work with the material. Omar Gooding admirably tries to fill Ice Cube's shoes as Calvin, and character actor Barry Shabaka Henley puts his own spin on Eddie. However, what really disappoints me more than anything is the amount of good people behind the scenes. Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr., the producers of the films, are executive producers on this series as is original star Ice Cube. The first episode was written and directed by John Ridley, who is also an executive producer. He wrote the story for the film Three Kings and has written for such shows as Third Watch and the animated series Static Shock. It's a shame that all of these people produce something this bad. I don't know if this show will get better over time, but it doesn't look good. If you want your fix of Calvin and his group of barbers, you will be better served renting the movies.
To see clips of Barbershop: The Series go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=barbershop+the+series
� Date: Thu June 29, 2006 � Filesize: 37.6kb � Dimensions: 312 x 400 �
Keywords: Barbershop The Series