EXES & OHS created by Michelle Paradise, with Paradise, Heather Matarazzo, Marnie Alton, Megan Cavanagh and Angela Featherstone. Airs Thursdays at 9:30 pm on Showcase. Rating: NNN
Ever wonder what Sex and the City would be like if Carrie and the girls kicked off their Manolo Blahniks and got into each other's knickers? Me neither, but along comes Exes & Ohs anyway.
Not that this lesbian sitcom isn't good. It's actually quite charming, if not milk-out-my-nose funny.
The characters occasionally seem too familiar - the pie-eyed dreamer who's too picky (Charlotte anyone?), the slut with the smart mouth (Samantha) - but there's some wit and intelligence at work here that reminds me of Ellen DeGeneres's sitcom, pre-coming out.
Based on the short film The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide, it stars multi-hyphenate (creator-producer-writer) Michelle Paradise as a fragile doc filmmaker pushed by her pals back into the dating scene after a bad breakup.
Along the way she gives us the 10 rules in Carrie Bradshaw-like narrative fashion. The first states that a lesbian relationship isn't over until the fourth breakup or until six months after a breakup, which my lesbian doppelgänger, Jet, says is about right, although she prefers to use the 50 per cent solution (it takes half as long as the length of the relationship to get over the relationship).
Of course, any series about lesbians immediately draws comparisons to The L Word. But that's an angsty soap opera about a bunch of neurotic L.A. lipstick lesbos trying to figure out what it means to be gay (beyond the whole liking women thing).
Exes & Ohs, on the other hand, is about a bunch of overly quirky yet mostly average Seattle queers well out of the closet and just trying to get on with living life.
While The L Word cast is a het male wet dream, Exes & Ohs is, well, more representative of what people really look like. One-time L Word actor Heather Matarazzo plays a purple-haired punk singer of the Phoebe Buffay variety, while Megan Cavanagh (A League Of Their Own's Marla Hooch) is a dog-loving dingbat in a monogamous relationship who accidentally breaks one of the rules (something about being allowed to grind up against a girl on the dance floor but not chat her up off the dance floor, which my lesbo-clone completely disagrees with, by the way, pointing out that while The L Word was cool for using actual queer lingo like "hasbian," Exes & Ohs seems to be making it up as it goes along).
And when it comes to the sex factor, Exes & Ohs is more about titillation than T&A, cuz it's strictly PG.
Of course, it's still all a bit gimmicky. If you take the gay factor out of the equation, you're left with a lightweight all-female Friends.
TRIPLE SENSATION created by Garth Drabinsky. Airs Sundays at 8 pm on CBC. Rating: NNNN
Forget singing, dancing or skat ing with the stars. This is a reality talent show actually worth watching. And it's Canadian.
The series pits would-be actor-singer-dancers - triple threats - against each other for a $150,000 scholarship, all of which sounds a bit same-old, same-old, except for three crucial differences.
First, these youngsters actually have talent. (How about the guy whose only experience was as a hiphop dancer suddenly giving an amazing Shakespearean soliloquy before belting out a tune from Rent?!). And it's painful when they're suddenly cut, just like at real auditions. Reminded me of Fame when Coco didn't get that Broadway role she clearly deserved.
There's no cutesiness or bitchiness among the marquee panel of judges (the great Cynthia Dale and Marvin Hamlisch among them), just genuine appraisals of the various performances. More of their entertaining backroom debating would certainly juice things up, though.
And finally, there are the little extras, like a peek inside a Joe Flaherty improv comedy class or words of encouragement from the great Joel Grey and Chita Rivera. Very classy.
What to watch this week
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21
TRIBUTE BANDS (documentary) A Toronto Sting wannabe auditions to front a cover band for former Police manager Miles Copeland. First in a four-part series. 10 pm on E!