Charity Case (FOX) pilot preview: Barbie Town with Courteney Cox

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Created by Robert Padnick (The Office, Man Seeking Woman). Directed by James Griffiths (Episodes, Cooper Barrett’s Guide, Blackish). Executive produced by Robert Padnick & Courteney Cox. For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television & ABC Studios. 38 pages.

Description: When Hailey inherits her late billionaire husband’s charity, the Waller Foundation, she quickly finds that changing the world is far less glamorous than she had imagined. With her team of assistants/nannies, she tries to become a good person…

With Courteney Cox (Friends, Cougar Town, Scream), Kyle Bornheimer (Worst Week, Angel From Hell), Dan Gill (Paranormal Activity 5, The Wedding Ringer), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire, Veep)…

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In case Courteney Cox happens to read this preview -you never know! she can google her name- I won’t talk about her multiple surgeries and her sad clown/dead Michael Jackson/Scream‘s Ghostface face. It would be mean. Good news though: the role of Hailey in Charity Case goes perfectly with her new look since she’s playing a very selfish and materialistic rich woman, nicknamed “Philanthropist Barbie” by her son-in-law (of the same age)/new boss, who hates her. After neurotic Monica in Friends and cray-cray Jules in Cougar Town, it feels like an interesting new playing field for the actress, even though I fear it doesn’t last long enough. But you never know. Who would have thought Cougar Town could stay on the air for 6 seasons?

I really enjoyed reading the script of Charity Case -the opening scene is hilarious, many lines made me laugh, secondary characters are more than okay, a number of situations still light up my face when I think about it- but I’m confused about the longtime perspective of such a project, especially on FOX. The thing is, it’s a bit like The Office meets Bad Judge/Bad Teacher. The marriage between an ensemble show that was a success for years with this kind of comedy centered around one prominent character looking for redemption that never works. You got this really promising set of characters with an efficient dynamics – the new idealistic assistant; the cynical colleague; the cold-capitalist boss; the high-stressed communications director- and this woman, played by a well-known and loved actress, who takes the whole space and leaves nothing much to the others. It’s a bit of a waste.

The best thing that could happen to Charity Case would be taking the Cougar Town route by becoming more of a real ensemble with every character treated equally. Because, once again, there’s potential here but not if it’s all about Hailey vs. her stooges. Plus, the charity world has not been at the center of anything on scripted TV so far, it’s interesting to explore it with a hint of cynicism like it’s the case here.

Charity Case is not a lost cause. Actually, it looks like a pretty good case to give a chance to. It’s a solid vehicle for Courteney Cox -and we only wish her the best, really, but maybe it’s soon to come back though- but it’s probably not the big broad comedy FOX is desperately looking for…

 

READ MATT LE BLANC’S PILOT PREVIEW

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