Charlie Lawrence aired from June 15-22, 2003 on CBS.
Charlie ( Nathan Lane) had just been elected to his first term in Congress from his home state of New Mexico, taking over the seat of a recently deceased Democratic congressman. A former TV star with no political experience , fun loving idealistic Charlie had a lot to learn about the way the Government actually worked. After moving into an apartment at the Watergate Complex in Washington he met his mostly inherited staff. Sarah ( Laurie Metcalf), the chief of staff was prissy, school-marmish and very competent but had little sense of humor. Others included Suzette (Stephanie Faracy), the alcoholic office manager who had been a huge fan of Charlie's former TV series , Do Unto Others, in which he had played an angel named guppy; and Ryan ( T.R. Knight), a confused young intern who had gotten his job because his wealthy father was a major contributor to the party. Grayden ( Ted McGinley), his Watergate neighbor and new friend was a Republican with whom he rarely agreed on issues.
The title of the series pilot was " A Vote of No Confidence" and that is what CBS gave this show . It pulled the plug after only 2 episodes had aired.
A Review From The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Washington Monument: He Takes It Personally
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
Published: June 14, 2003
Not so long ago, a sitcom about a gay actor who gets elected to Congress would have seemed too daring to schedule during primetime. Network executives would have feared boycotts by gay groups and Christian conservatives alike.
Now the Broadway actor Nathan Lane can star in ''Charlie Lawrence,'' a CBS sitcom about a popular television star who becomes an openly gay congressman (Fred Grandy meets Barney Frank) and the show seems almost quaintly pass -- a gay ''Spin City'' or ''Night Court.'' The jokes are about as risque as you'd find in dinner theater. Arriving at his Watergate apartment, Mr. Lane gazes out at the Washington Monument and says waggishly, ''That could give you an inferiority complex.''
CBS does not appear to have a great deal of faith in the show; it scheduled the sitcom to start this Sunday, in the summer sleepy season, with little promotion or fanfare, despite Mr. Lane's participation.
''Charlie Lawrence'' does not break new ground. Its satire of Washington politics is mild and formulaic. It is far more conventional than ''Will & Grace,'' which portrays gay men as unabashedly sexual and uninhibited. Mr. Lane's character is wistful, somewhat repressed, and self-deprecating about his weight -- cuddly and safe for all audiences.
The secondary characters all look and sound like stock figures in any office sitcom, but the show is nevertheless a pleasant, inoffensive half-hour, with a few amusing moments provided by Mr. Lane. One high-pitched squeal and pratfall by the former star of ''The Producers'' is funnier than half a dozen punch lines. Laurie Metcalf, who played the sister on ''Roseanne,'' is a good foil as his brainy, no-nonsense chief of staff. ''Charlie Lawrence,'' is set on Capitol Hill, but it is better at skewering Hollywood than Washington.
The freshman congressman's batty, star-struck receptionist reminds him of an episode in the sixth season of his old show and asks him, ''What is Charles Grodin really like?'' Mr. Lane replies: ''I really don't remember. I spent most of Season 6 in rehab.''
Suddenly his face brightens. He says, ''Liza was sweet, though.''
CBS, tomorrow night at 8:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 7:30, Central time.
Produced by 20th-Century Fox Television in association with CBS Productions. Created by Jeffrey Richman; Mr. Richman and Nathan Lane, executive producers; Alan Padula, producer; written by Mr. Richman; directed by Jerry Zaks.
WITH: Mr. Lane (Charlie Lawrence), Laurie Metcalf (Sarah Dolecek), Ted McGinley (Graydon Cord), Stephanie Faracy (Suzette Michaels) and T.R. Knight ( Ryan Lemming).
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