Alyssa Milano returns to prime time in ABC’s ‘Romantically Challenged’

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

The list of flaws plaguing the new ABC sitcom, “Romantically Challenged,” begins with its premise and builds from there.

Alyssa Milano plays Rebecca Thomas,
the show’s lead character. She’s a recently divorced mom who is just
now “putting herself out there” and struggling to make sense of the
dating game.

Stop right there. We’re talking about Alyssa Milano. The stunningly beautiful Alyssa Milano. And she’s supposed to be “romantically challenged”? Sorry, we’re not buying it. Not for a minute.

That premise, unfortunately, is the funniest thing
about this run-of-the-mill show, which serves up only lukewarm laughs
and feels derivative throughout.

In tonight’s opener, Rebecca is contemplating having
a one-night stand with a guy she just met in a cafe. But she’s never
done such a thing, so, of course, she gets plenty of coaching from her
single-people posse, played by Kyle Bornheimer, Josh Lawson and Kelly Stables. There are the perfunctory jokes about dating and
fornicating — including a running gag about prison sex that runs on for
too long. In most cases, you can see the punch lines coming from a mile

The engaging Milano has displayed a crafty skill for landing in successful shows over the years (“Who’s the Boss?,” “Charmed,” “Melrose Place“), but this ABC project feels more like a late-season afterthought than a durable good.

And speaking of ABC, we’re disappointed. In a season that saw the network deliver offbeat and original comedies like “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town,” this represents a step backward. Then again, maybe those two shows are big-time flukes.


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