Just shoot Judge Jim Thomas. Please.
At Blush magazine, comedy is always in fashion.
Just Shoot Me!, which ran from 1997 to 2002, was never considered a groundbreaking show; it was, however, consistently funny—which gave it a significant advantage over a lot of sitcoms, then and now. Mill Creek brings us Just Shoot Me! Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. Time to hit the runway.
Journalist Maya Gallo (Laura San Giacomo, Pretty Woman) just can't keep a job. She's great at what she does, but between her feminist ideals and her temper, she has trouble keeping a job. When she gets fired from her television gig after inserting some mean-spirited copy on the anchor's teleprompter, Maya has to do the last thing she ever wanted to do—go to her estranged father for help. Jack Gallo (George Segal, The Hot Rock) runs Blush, one of the world's premier fashion magazines. He and Maya haven't spoken for a few years, ever since Jack married one of her high school classmates. For his part, Jack is delighted at the opportunity to mend fences, and offers Maya a job at Blush.
Now she's working alongside photographer Elliot Dimauro (Enrico Colantoni, Veronica Mars), ex-supermodel Nina van Horn (Wendie Malick, Hot in Cleveland), and her father's personal assistant Dennis Finch (David Spade, Rules of Engagement). Will her feminist sensibilities survive?
Well, sort of. The show was initially designed with san Giacomo as the lead, but after the first "season"—six episodes in the spring of 1997—the format was tweaked to be more of an ensemble workplace comedy. It was a good call (as was ditching Maya's platonic male roommate), simply because anything else would have been a colossal waste of talent. Each performer takes a fairly stock character and runs with it. Two particular standouts are George Segal's Jack Gallo—he's delighted at having his daughter back in his life, but he has absolutely no idea how to talk to her. It's a ridiculously hard part to pull off, but Segal has a natural liability that makes it work. Next is Wendie Malick's Nina, a composite of every supermodel joke ever written, but she makes it her own. She knows exactly what she is, and she carries it off with style.
Colantoni's Elliot is a tad more normal than the others, but he's set to be the object of sexual tension for Maya, which limits him somewhat. David Spade—well, you get exactly what you expect—his brand of snark is perfect for the show, because the fashion world takes itself so seriously that it needs to be taken down a peg. Or eight.
The episodes are a nice mix of traditional workplace comedy and high-concept pieces. "King Lear Jet" features Maya, Nina, and Elliot wanting a pair of tickets to a performance of King Lear in London—and their antics start to parody the play. In "My Dinner with Woody," Maya writes an article on Woody Allen and is stunned when she gets a call from Allen himself. Sort of. "The Walk" is somewhat maudlin, but the cast sells it well, and Mrs. Voorhees herself, Betsy Palmer (Friday the 13th), has a strong turn as a woman from Jack's past. The show excelled at taking common ideas and giving them a fresh spin; in one episode, Finch subs for Jack's wife as his bridge partner. After the two have a fantastic night of cards, Jack is reluctant to return to playing with his wife, as he comments "Damn it, I'm thinking with my deck!"
I was a fairly regular watcher back in the day, and the show still holds up well—a genuinely fun and entertaining show, if rarely laugh out loud funny. Of course, the frequent presence of scantily clad models can't be overlooked as a selling point.
Before they were famous: Stephanie Romanov, who played Lilah on Angel, guest stars in "La Cage" as a supermodel whom Finch pursues even though Elliot warns him that she's crazy; "Sewer" features Lisa Edelstein (House, M.D.) as Maya's college roommate; and "College or Collegen" has a very young Ali Larter (Heroes) as a college student whom Maya is mentoring.
Other notable guest stars include Carmen Electra as herself, and Brian Dennehy (Tommy Boy) in what would become a recurring role as Finch's father.
Technically, the set is decent. Video is somewhat soft, but not to the point of distraction, and colors are consistent. The audio is clear. The Sony edition released back in 2004 had a modest set of extras, but Mill Creek didn't bring those along. Note that There's a slight glitch with the episode menu on the second disc: Selecting "Sewer!" plays "In the Company of Maya," and vice versa.
Just Shoot Me! lasted seven seasons despite being bounced around the schedule like a pinball. That in itself is testament to its staying power. It may have never quite reached the lofty heights of Cheers, but it remains a fun, entertaining show.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
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