Poster: Mr. Television
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Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) (aka My Adventures in Television) aired from March until June 2002 on ABC.
The inner workings of the television industry were lampooned in this rauchaus comedy, which was as fleeting as the shows it mocked. David ( Ivan Sergei) was a midwestern innocent, a young Minneapolis theatrical producer who had been lured to shameless , immoral Hollywood by the owner of the IBS network, Red Lansing ( John Cleese), to help his network climb out of the ratings celler by tapping into the "average American mind." As soon as David arrived he collided with an office full of stereotypes . There was Paul ( Ed Begley, Jr.), the indecisive network president who constantly fretted about keeping his job; Mike ( James McCauley), the senior VP of programming who had converted to Judaism to gain an edge and pretended to be gay whenever it was to his advantage; Lindsay ( Melinda McGraw), the neurotic vice president of comedy, who resented David's incursion on her turf; and chubby black Joanne ( Sherri Shepherd), a "quota babe" ( and proud of it) who had gone from fired crouton maker to vice president of programming in five months.
David might have appeared clueless, but he caught on fast to the machinations of colleagues and stars. He groveled to get John Ritter on the network, fought off Red's attempts to televise a live execution to boost ratings, and romanced Lori Loughlin, who promptly slapped him with a sexual harrassment suit. Meanwhile the network scheduling board was inadvertently rearranged into a winning lineup by a temperamental chimpanzee.
Pulled after two weeks, Wednesday 9:30 ( 8:30 Central) returned at the beginning of the summer with a new title, My Adventures in Television, but was no more successful.
A Review from The New York Times
ABC, tonight at 9:30
By CARYN JAMES
Published: March 27, 2002
Yes, ''Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)'' is the name of the latest show from the usually savvy producer Peter Tolan (''Larry Sanders'' and ''The Job''). The title is so bad, so desperate the network might as well have called the series ''DOA.'' Set behind the scenes at the fictional IBS television network, it trots out stereotypes and doesn't even try to add a fresh spin. There's a naïve Midwesterner, Dave (Ivan Sergei), who comes to work at the network and turns out to be a survivor even if he does have scruples. There's a cutthroat blonde (Melinda McGraw), a black woman who makes fun of her token status (Joanne Walker) and a nervous network president always on the verge of being fired (Ed Begley Jr).
Like ''Greg the Bunny,'' even this shambles has its fleeting bright spot. John Cleese plays the network's owner, a much married Australian who shakes his head in amazement when speaking of his latest estranged wife. ''Women,'' he says. ''The moment they turn 19, they become an entirely different animal.'' Maybe one day soon he and Eugene Levy will sit around trading horror stories about the shows they left behind.
A Review from Entertainiment Weekly
Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)
B By Ken Tucker Ken Tucker
In an unusual occurrence, ''The Job,'' that very funny Denis Leary cop sitcom, is being replaced with a promisingly funny, peculiarly titled show about a struggling TV network, Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central). What's unusual about it is that they're both created by writer-executive producer Peter Tolan, whose work as a scribe for the great ''Larry Sanders Show'' no doubt paved the way for the wry cameo Shandling makes in an upcoming ''Wednesday'' episode.
While ''Wednesday'' exhibits a lot of ''Job'''s pungent irreverence, it lacks the same freshness. Set as it is at a fictitious network, IBS, ''Wednesday'''s atmosphere is not substantially different from that of any other TV TV-show, from ''Sports Night'' to, well, ''Larry Sanders.''
Worse, its star is ''Jack & Jill'''s handsome, blank-faced Ivan Sergei. ''Jack & Jill''? I can't believe someone from ''J&J'' is our ostensible protagonist, David Weiss, a newly hired exec at a fifth-rate net that airs a show called ''When Animals Bite and Won't Let Go'' -- i.e., junk not quite ludicrous enough (in this era of ''Celebrity Boxing'') to be witty.
Still, ''Wednesday'' has a lot of Tolan in it, which is to say that people behave very badly very amusingly. The senior vice president of IBS programming, played with a smear of smarm by James McCauley, establishes the universality of this show's workplace by advising callow Weiss that ''there's only one thing you need to know about this business.... Everybody is lying.''
Ed Begley Jr., as the net's president, is the sort of dim creep who sees everything as a career move, and asks Weiss if he's Jewish. When Weiss replies in the affirmative, Begley shouts, ''Good choice!'' Tolan's subtlest creation is another VP, Lindsay, who insists Weiss deliver all his ''notes'' about a show -- TV-speak for suggestions and criticisms -- to her rather than to the ''creative'' side.
As played with canny deviousness by Melinda McGraw, Lindsay is smart at office politics but gives herself away when, while trying to parrot something Weiss said, mistakenly uses the word subtextural. ''Do you know what subtextual means?'' asks Weiss, allowing the audience to feel superior to Lindsay whether or not it knows the meaning either. Sly boy, that Tolan -- he kisses up to the viewer as cleverly as his characters do, but with added irony.
It's fun to see John Cleese do some ''Fawlty Towers'' blustering as the net's Aussie owner, and guest star Lori Loughlin does some extremely generous joking about her ''Full House'' fame, playing the star of an IBS sitcom, ''Just the Three of Us.'' Still, my feeling persists: Give the ''Wednesday 9:30'' time slot back to ''The Job'' and let the other show change its name to, oh, ''Monday 8:00.''
For the Original Ivan Sergei Fan Club go to http://www.geocities.com/hollywood/trailer/1989/
For a Website dedicated to Ed Begley Jr. go to http://www.edbegley.com/
For the Official Site of Sherri Shepherd go to http://www.sherrishepherd.com/
For a Website dedicated to John Cleese go to http://www.thejohncleese.com/
For more on John Cleese go to http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/C/htmlC/cleesejohn/cleesejohn.htm
For more on this show go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wednesday_9:30_(8:30_Central)
ï¿½ Date: Wed July 2, 2008 ï¿½ Filesize: 19.9kb ï¿½ Dimensions: 180 x 270 ï¿½
Keywords: Ivan Sergei