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Archive for the ‘Married… With Children’ Category

Show: Samantha Who?

Character: Samantha Newly

Played Oh-So-Winningly By: Christina Applegate

In a Nutshell: There are two Samantha Newly’s, actually. The first is who Sam used to be-  the selfish, bitchy, cutthroat 30 year-old vice president of a real estate company who lives to torment the little people who deign to live at her feet. Fortunately, for all of mankind, that Sam suffers a hit-and-run accident and then retrograde amnesia, forcing her to start living with a clean slate. Without all the hang-ups that led her to be the world’s biggest bully, Sam is now as sweet and guileless as can be (though not as “special” as that photo on the left would suggest), with the occasional horrifying flash of her old self. As the (short-lived. I hate you, ABC) series progresses, Sam is faced with more and more memories and constantly struggles with being the kind of good person she wants to be, all while traces of her old selfishness and vanity keep popping up at every turn. Along for the ride are her long-suffering ex-boyfriend/roommate Todd, old friend Dena who is well-meaning but exactly that type of woman you avoid at the dog park, her best friend Andrea (who loved the old, bitchy Sam), and her awesomely hilarious parents Howard and Regina (Jean Smart, who is on the list “Actors Who Should Star in Absolutely Everything”). Oh, and her doorman Frank who absolutely reviles her after years of brutal mistreatment from the old Sam.

Why We’ll Never Forget (Too much?): Oh, SAM. A high-concept like this could’ve been such a disaster but Samantha Who? made it work. A lot of that credit goes to the strong writing and the fantastic supporting characters but don’t underestimate Christina Applegate’s performance. As Sam, she’s an old-fashioned screwball comedy ingenue (I mean, really. Shouldn’t she have been forced to leave Ingenue Town a decade ago? Apparently not), eagerly hopping through the fast-paced episodes and the comical misunderstandings and embarrassing situations that hit her from every direction. In Applegate’s hands, Sam is adorable and funny and nowhere near as cloying as she could be- the flashes of horrible old Sam (with her pin-straight hair and killer short skirts, bad Sam actually looks a lot like you’d imagine Kelly Bundy would turn out if she had money. Maybe she should work for a fashion designer! I hear referee-style school uniforms are hot these days) are definitely a help, especially when they lead to new Sam’s equally horrified reaction to them.

Favorite Moments: Do yourself a favor and just watch. everything.

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I wasn’t a Married With Children fan. I thought the opening credits were gross and even as a pre-teen, the show struck me as incredibly depressing. Plus I always thought it was also gross that Bud kind of wanted to bang his sister. And if I’m going to watch Ed O’Neill in anything, it’s going to be “Dutch“. End of tirade.

So, unlike the rest of the America, I didn’t really fall in love with Christina Applegate until “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead,” a movie that, to this day, inspires me to do a happy dance when I see that it’s on TV (which it rarely is. Can’t we trade in at least ONE of the playbacks of “What a Girl Wants” on Oxygen and sub this instead? It’s got a fashion show in it too!)

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Christina’s career could’ve gone the path of, say, Alyssa Milano who has done decently well for herself in her own B/C List way (And also was in one of my favorite crapbag movies ever inspired by a video game, “Double Dragon“, which is a post in itself. Bailey as super hero? Hilarious. Also hilarious- casting an Asian and non-Asian as brothers and thinking we wouldn’t notice. 1994 was retarded.) Instead, after watching her on Ellen yesterday it occurred to me that Christina somehow transformed herself into a moderately legit star. And I could not be happier about it.

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Fact- “The Sweetest Thing” is a great movie, it is and I won’t apologize for saying that out loud much less writing it. There are very few girl-buddy comedies out there and this one works, if only for the easy camaraderie between Cameron Diaz, Applegate and little Selma Blair.

Question- What exactly is that accent in “Anchorman” supposed to be anyway? Trying to figure it out is part of the fun.

Fact- Survived Dane Cook movie unscathed. Thank God no one actually saw it or cares about Dane Cook anymore.

Fact- Kicked breast cancer’s ass.

Fact- Was on Broadway in “Sweet Charity.” So MULTI-TALENTED.

Bringing us all the way around to the point which is- you should really be watching “Samantha Who?” There is no excuse for you NOT to watch it. Sookie from “Gilmore Girls” is in it. JEAN SMART is in it. I now feel justified in thinking the guy from “7th Heaven” is attractive, as opposed to feeling slightly guilty about it. It’s very funny and the concept is kind of adorable in a way that only Christina Applegate can make it adorable- a horrible slut wakes up from a coma with no idea who she is and now that she’s a blank slate, she’s the nicest girl next door ever… who constantly finds out what a bitch she used to be. Good times.

It’s on Thursday nights now and you can watch free episodes online at ABC.com. Like I said, you have no excuses. Go forth, watch and be happy.

– Judi

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