Cancelled: Fox Writes a Dear 'Jezebel James' Letter

jezebel james cancelled

On paper, the lineup was inspired: the teaming up of the scribe with a passionate, built-in following (Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino), the young star of a critically acclaimed cable series (Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under), and the de facto face of indie comedy – Parker Posey, as the headlining name. But the writing was on the wall for The Return of Jezebel James (Fox) long before it aired: early clips of laugh-tracked scenes were leaked to groaning disapproval. What should have been a fall-season opener was demoted to mid-season replacement series, and then the 13 episode order from Fox was cut to 7 because of the impending writers strike. By the time that the network announced that Jezebel was going to air on Friday nights, it seemed a forgone conclusion that the multi-camera sitcom was not long for TV world.

The show debuted on March 14th. The script was off, the timing was off, and both actresses (Posey especially) seemed as though they were running through a dress rehearsal.

There’s an awful setup for an awful gag in episode two that sums up the whole situation: Sarah (Posey) invites her parents over to her Manhattan apartment to break the news that she’s unable to have a child on her own, so she’s recruited her loser, former-addict sister Coco (Ambrose) to carry her baby. When she tells Mom and Dad that she has big news: Mom wants to stand (“If it’s wonderful I’m going to jump!”) but Dad is tired and wants to sit down. They bicker, they interrupt Sarah, the whole thing goes on way too long. Sarah finally gets to her announcement, and shocked, Mom sits and Dad stands. The joke was telegraphed, and like the cancellation of the low-rated show after three episodes – you’re relieved that it’s over, because it wasn’t funny, and you feel embarrassed for everyone involved.

For the curious, or gluttons for punishment, the first three episodes are available on iTunes and

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 25th 2008 | Home Page | 2 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

2 Responses

  1. The CineManiac Says:

    As much as I loved Gilmore Girls, I just couldn’t get myself to care for this show. Maybe it was all the bad reviews, or maybe it was the lack of faith it in Fox showed from jettisoning it to mid-season to placing it in the Friday death spot.
    Either way I’m not surprised and I’m glad I didn’t waste my time watching the 2 episodes I had DVRed

  2. Alelxa Says:

    Apparently Sherman-Palladino couldn’t tap into the female zeitgeist twice. I’m actually happy for the cancellation, if only that Lauren Ambrose didn’t have to suffer a bad show stigma for long. Someone needs to find that girl a vehicle!

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