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Poster: Mr. Television
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Temporarily Yours aired from March until April 1997 on CBS.
This short-lived comedy certainly was compatible with its lead-on on the CBS schedule. What could be more appropriate than following a series about an aggressive , brassy Jewish girl from Queens ( The Nanny) with an aggressive, brassy Italian girl from Brooklyn.
Deb ( Debi Mazar) just couldn't find a job she really liked. She had just moved into a killer apartment in Manhattan after quiting her 27th job in the last two years. Her new job gave her hope for a better future. She went to work for Everything's Temporary, a fancy Upper East Side temp agency owned by the classy but neurotic Joan Silver ( Joanna Gleason). Joan wasn't sure how valuable an asset Deb's street smarts were, but there was something about her that appealed to her new boss. Since most of Deb's assignments lasted less than a week, she had little time to get bored and more opportunities to find the perfect job she was convinced was waiting for her. David ( Seth Green) was Joan's browbeaten son and assistant , Caesar ( Saverio Guerra) the pushy superintendent of the building in which she lived, and Anne Marie ( Nancy Cassaro) her fast-talking married friend.
A Review from The New York Times
CBS, tonight at 8:30
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: March 5, 1997
You like Fran Drescher as ''The Nanny''? Meet Debi Mazar as Deb DeAngelo in the new CBS series ''Temporarily Yours.'' Irrepressible product of an Irish mother and an Italian father, Debi hails from Brooklyn and, having gone through 27 jobs in two years, is determined to find a ''more success-friendly environment'' in Manhattan. Her solution: a temporary-employment agency, the kind of place that saves businesses fortunes by evading pension and health-care costs. These days, you take your laughs wherever you can find them.
Debi arrives at ''Everything's Temporary,'' an agency run by Joan Silver, played with raised-eyebrow sleekness by Joanna Gleason (''Into the Woods''). Although appalled by Debi's terminal gregariousness, Joan is persuaded by her flaky son, David (Seth Green), to give her an assignment, which turns out to be applying cosmetics to a corpse in a funeral home. ''So cold in here, you could hang meat,'' observes the unsinkable Debi.
Welcome to the always cute world of New Yawk gumption. Like Ms. Drescher, Ms. Mazar has the neighborhood accent down pat. Viewers will remember her perfect regular-gal turns as Denise Ianello in the series ''Civil Wars'' and ''L.A. Law.'' Sitcoms thrive on personality. Ms. Mazar has enough to spare.
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
THE LADY IS A TEMP
DEBI MAZAR GETS HERS--AND 'YOURS'
By Chris Nashawaty
The hair is a swoosh of raven black that descends from a razor-sharp Morticia Addams widow's peak. The eyebrows arch impossibly in a sort of retro salute to Norma Desmond. And that voice -- well, description seems futile.
Meet Debi Mazar, whose new post-Nanny CBS sitcom, Temporarily Yours, currently makes her a partner in the tube's only back-to-back gum-snappin' sass-fest. TV and movie junkies may recall the 32-year-old Queens, N.Y., native from her scene-stealing turn as brassy secretary Denise Iannello on both Civil Wars and L.A. Law, or as Ray Liotta's coke-addled squeeze in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas. But with her new sitcom (which she also produces and helped create), Mazar is gambling on being the star rather than the second banana, while trying to avoid inevitable Fran Drescher comparisons. ''Actually, I think it can only help our show to have two New York gals back to back,'' says Mazar. ''But aside from the whole voice thing, Fran and I have totally different shows.'' Still, it's tough to beef about the tasty little slab of prime-time real estate she's inherited (Yours debuted a healthy second in its time slot). ''I am the youngest person on the network,'' she jokes, ''I just have to remember not to out-hip myself.''
Unlike the relatively G-rated temp she plays on Yours, Mazar peppers her sentences with a spicy bouillabaisse of unprintable Queensisms. But she does cop to having struggled through her fair share of the same sort of freelance gigs her TV alter ego Deb DeAngelo holds down. ''I was a dental assistant, and then I sold tight designer jeans for a while,'' she says. ''I even gave makeovers to these women at Macy's. But that one was just for a day -- I couldn't take it.''
Still, Mazar's toughest job may have been getting her show on the air: CBS scrapped the original pilot and told her writer, exec producer, and grandmother on the show to hit the bricks -- even her apartment was Friends-ified. ''When we did the first pilot I lived in a real apartment that a real temp would live in -- there was a bathtub in the f -- -in' kitchen,'' she says. ''Now my apartment's just too amazing. Who lives like this?''
Well, frankly, Mazar does. The working girl has three movies in the can, including She's De Lovely (with Sean Penn), and splits her time between Manhattan and L.A., where she trolls the city's flea markets in a badass, black-on-black '96 Cadillac Eldorado. And just to make sure that she never has to return to the makeup counter as anything less than a platinum-card customer, Mazar confides, she's taking speech lessons. ''I mean, what if I want to do a period film some day? I can't be from Brooklyn.'' Plus, she adds, somewhat disturbed, ''I really don't like the way my voice sounds on my answering machine.''
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
DEBI MAZAR'S 'TEMPORARILY YOURS' LACKS THE WRITE STUFF
B-By Bruce Fretts
Debi Mazar's TEMPORARILY YOURS (CBS, Wednesdays, 8:30-9 p.m.) has a promising premise. As a temp, Mazar's Deb DeAngelo gets a new job every week, which should help prevent the ''sit'' in this ''com'' from growing stale. Mazar exudes an appealing earthiness, and she's backed up by a game cast, including Love and War vet Joanna Gleason as her boss, Seth Green (a sly presence ever since he played Woody Allen's young alter ego in Radio Days) as Gleason's son, and Saverio Guerra (EZ Streets snitch Sammy Feathers) as Deb's sleazebag landlord.
What Temporarily lacks are gags as sharp as its stars. The punchlines are often groaningly predictable: Sent to do makeup on corpses, Deb cracks, ''You can almost smell the excitement in the air -- or something.'' (Couldn't you just die!) Going out on a date with a highbrow Brit, Deb quips, ''He's got so much class, he doesn't go to the bathroom, he goes to the loo.'' (Quit it before my sides split!)
The cast renders this limp material watchable. Mazar's outer-borough chumminess contrasts well with Gleason's WASPy chilliness. While it's no gem, the show fits better with The Nanny than did Rhea Perlman's tarnished Pearl. But if Mazar wants more than a temporary presence on CBS, she might want to call in a few temps herself -- to replace the show's writers. B-
An Article from The New York Times
Like 'Mary Tyler Moore,' With Attitude and Accent
By PETER MARKS
Published: March 30, 1997
DON'T get her started about the apartment.
''I'm the star of the show,'' Debi Mazar was saying over broccoli rabe and penne arrabbiata, ''and I can't afford that apartment!''
There were no real estate records for the dwelling under discussion. It's the place Ms. Mazar calls home on her new CBS sitcom, ''Temporarily Yours,'' on which she plays a Brooklyn temp at large in Manhattan. On the first episode, her character, Deb DeAngelo, finds a New York flat that exists only in Hollywood: high ceilings. Living room the size of a banquet hall. Golden sunlight streaming through windows nearly as large as Diego Rivera murals, with views of the Brooklyn Bridge that defy the dictates of cartography and the laws of perspective.
Oh, yeah: and she pays for it on the temp's salary.
Maybe some unwitting viewer in Saskatchewan wants to buy that bridge outside the window, too. Ms. Mazar, born in Queens and brought up on the Lower East Side, laughed at the incongruity of it. What she had fought for, she said, was verisimilitude.
''I wanted it like 'The Honeymooners,' '' the actress with the ice blue eyes said in a voice as authentically New York as the chopped liver at Zabar's. ''I wanted a crummy little New York tenement. Cracks in the walls, cockroaches and a bathtub in the kitchen.''
Never let it be said that Ms. Mazar, 32, a veteran of network drama (''L.A. Law''; ''Civil Wars'') and movies (''Goodfellas''; ''Jungle Fever'') is not a quick study. She relented when the producers of ''Temporarily Yours,'' her first starring vehicle in prime time, insisted that she have a place that would be easy on viewers' eyes.
''You learn,'' she said, ''to pick and choose your fights.''
Whatever the condition of her digs, the viewers gave the pilot episode the ratings equivalent of a housewarming. The ratings in New York for the premiere, broadcast in the 8:30 time slot on Monday nights, were an improvement on those for the show preceding it, ''The Nanny,'' which stars Ms. Mazar's fellow Queens native, Fran Drescher.
Naturally, CBS's creation of what amounts to a Noo Yawk Ow-Wah on Mondays raised the inevitable issue of the similar backgrounds of the sound-alike network stars. Which intrigues everyone else a lot more than Ms. Mazar.
''People are always asking me to make comparisons with 'The Nanny,' '' she said over lunch recently at Da Silvano, a favorite restaurant not far from where she used to live in Greenwich Village. The broccoli rabe tempted her more than the question. ''There are so many interesting New York babes out there. So no, I can't corner the market.''
She may not like it, but she knows she's considered a type. ''A lot of people perceive me as New Yorky,'' she said. ''So when I go on my auditions, I go in character.'' Like the time Oliver Stone had her read for the role of Marina Oswald in ''J. F. K.'' ''I went in with a Russian accent,'' Ms. Mazar said. (She didn't, however, emerge with the part.)
Ms. Mazar (pronounced MAY-zar) brings an exotic sleekness and street-smart sassiness to ''Temporarily Yours,'' a sitcom out of the Mary Tyler Moore mold of single working women who can turn the world on with their smiles. Each week, Deb DeAngelo rotates into a new odd job -- the pilot had her working as a cosmetician in a funeral home -- but always reports back to the snooty temp agency owner, played by the stage actress Joanna Gleason, who won a Tony for her performance in ''Into the Woods.''
The job-a-week gimmick will certainly keep Props and Wardrobe busy. But there are also the unmistakable echoes of sitcoms past. Ms. Mazar, in effect, plays Lucille Ball to Ms. Gleason's Gale Gordon, he of the trademark slow burn. The relationship is a reminder of how few variations there are on the tried-and-true television formulas.
For an actress who has been directed by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Spike Lee and whose previous forays into television were on shows created by the celebrated Steven Bochco, a half-hour series with no loftier aim than getting laughs might seem something of a comedown. Ms. Mazar doesn't see it that way. First and foremost, ''Temporarily Yours'' is her opportunity to get out from behind the desk she seemed glued to during the last season of ''L.A. Law,'' in which she played a feisty (if underused) secretary.
''All that pretend typing,'' she said, rolling her eyes and drumming her fingers on an imaginary keyboard. ''But this, I thought I could handle. And I wouldn't get bored.''
Ms. Mazar talks about her career and her ambition directly and without pretension. She is unusual for an actor: upon greeting an interviewer, she is the one who begins the questioning. It's easy to see why casting agents and directors and studios develop faith in her. Everything about her says, 'I'll get the job done.''
Once a theater makeup person -- she did Madonna's makeup in the play, ''Speed-the-Plow'' -- she got her break when Mr. Scorsese cast her as Ray Liotta's druggie girlfriend in ''Goodfellas.'' She has worked constantly ever since, often in ethnic roles. (Her background is Latvian and Italian.)
She maintains an apartment in Chelsea, but her primary home for the last seven years has been West Hollywood, where she lives with her toy poodle, Dolores, and her new Cadillac. Although she left home when she was 16, she is close to her mother, who lives in Orlando, Fla.
The idea for ''Temporarily Yours'' evolved after ''L.A. Law'' folded and 20th Century Fox offered her a deal to develop her own show. The sitcom, of course, capitalizes on Ms. Mazar's outer-borough aura, and, in fact, a television writer followed her around the city to soak up color for the show. Incidents from the actress's life made it into the scripts, like the time she accidentally toasted a mouse.
''I really felt bad for the mouse,'' she said. ''I wanted to soak him in cold water.'' But being a true New Yorker, ''I screamed and freaked and called maintenance.''
On wildlife issues, the producers went along with her. But they had drawn the line on interior design. The actress, a stickler for visual detail, held her ground on one score: apartment security.
''I had to scream for them to put locks on the apartment door!'' she said. The memory of explaining how New Yorkers don't leave their doors open got her started again on the question of domicile-verite. ''This is why I wanted the bathtub in the kitchen!''
Oh, well. You can't have everything. With six episodes of ''Temporarily Yours'' completed, Ms. Mazar is waiting for the final judgment of the network and the viewers on the future of the show. You get the feeling that if it all works out, great. If not, hey, no big whoop.
''If people are going to watch, they're going to watch,'' she said, offering a final bit of hometown wisdom. ''If they don't, what are you going to do?''
For more on Temporarily Yours go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporarily_Yours
For a Website dedicated to Joanna Gleason go to http://www.joannagleason.com/
For the Official Seth Green Website go to http://www.sethgreenonline.com/
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Keywords: Debi Mazar