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The WB’s newest hit show ‘Related’ disappoints

Observer Scene | Wednesday, November 2, 2005

It’s been advertised as a sort of “Sex and the City” for families, but “Related,” the WB’s attempt to capture an older female audience, lacks most of the elements which made that show so appealing.

“Related” follows the lives of four “closer than close” sisters who depend on each other in just about every aspect of their daily lives. The Sorelli Sisters are a little mixed up, as each battles with some sort of distinguishing obstacle associated with certain conventional stages in a woman’ s life.

Rose (Lauren Breckenridge), the baby of the group, is a college student who has just switched her major from a tidy “Pre-Med” to “Experimental Theater.”

Then there is the “fresh out of college, working to get her career started” character Marjee (Lizzy Caplan, of “Mean Girls”). As an aspiring celebrity-event planner, she is probably the most dynamic character of the group. Marjee has a desire for independence, yet ends up whining for help at just about every turn.

Next, there is Ann (Kiele Sanchez), a therapist who was dumped by her six-year boyfriend right around the time the average woman is looking for a ring.

Finally, there is the eldest sister Ginnie. She is the mother-hen-type sister of the group, who is both newly pregnant and a full-fledged workaholic.

Each sister is so preoccupied with each other’s lives that it becomes frustratingly clear that most of their dilemmas are the spawn of some overly demanding desire to be accepted and praised by one another.

Since they are depicted stressing out over nearly everything, the banter between them becomes overwhelmingly exhausting. As a comedy set in trendy New York City, a sort of “Friends”-like humor might be expected – especially since executive producer Marta Kauffman comes directly from the highly successful television favorite.

Additionally, the show’s creator, Liz Tucillo, was a writer for female favorite “Sex and the City.” So how does a show with such a highly regarded staff fall into a pit of immense disappointment?

The set-up has the potential for an enthusiastic female audience, but whoever is writing the script will have to get on the ball and start exploring less one-dimensional and superficial scenarios.

The four lead actresses are all considerably talented, but they just need a bit more motivation to make things happen. The show is set in the big city of New York, but rarely uses its convenient location to set in motion an exciting plot.

Both “Sex and The City,” and fellow WB sitcom “Gilmore Girls” thrive on their clever, fast paced and witty humor – all of which are elements missing from the early episodes of “Related.”

Given the show’s slow start, it has already been moved from its Wednesday night premier to a less competitive Monday-night spot. If the show is to gain a loyal audience, it will have to implement a bit more creativity.

Watch “Related” on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on the WB and see what all the hype is about. Potential disappointment is forewarned.