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Save Me From SAVE ME

Save Me poster

Written by : published Friday 24th May 2013

It's easy to see why NBC would choose to burn off new sitcom Save Me after the typical broadcast season has come to an end. It's a meandering story without a clear direction or well-defined characters. It can't exactly make up its mind what it's about or what the rules of the tale are. As such, it comes across as being a big mess in the first two installments, "The Book of Beth" and "Take It Back," which aired last night.

The premise seems to revolve around Beth Harper (Anne Heche, Men in Trees, Hung), an angry, alcoholic housewife who chokes on a sandwich and finds god. As she begins hearing voices telling her things she shouldn't know, she decides that she's a prophet, and attempts to go on the straight and narrow, repairing her relationships with her family and friends.

I always enjoy Heche, but Beth is not a good character. Her about-face is immediate in the "The Book of Beth," and there's no exploration as to how she gets the way she is prior to that. The others in her life seem like solid, likeable people, which would make sense if Beth is a lovable gal. However, it sounds like she's been nasty for awhile, so why is anyone still hanging around Beth at all?

Beth's husband, Tom (Michael Landes, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), is ready to ask for a divorce as Save Me begins, but stops short when Beth transforms back into the woman he loved. This causes Tom's mistress, Carly (Alexandra Breckenridge, American Horror Story), to go crazy, coming to Tom's house and screaming at Beth. That is, until Carly is struck by lightening, which may or may not be Beth's fault.

I don't understand why Tom leaves one unpleasant woman for another. Carly's irrational behavior can't come out of nowhere. I also don't understand why Tom is cheating, because every other aspect about him seems to portrays him as a model father and neighbor who would never do such a thing. And how can Beth overlook that behavior so easily, justifiable or not?

It's this kind of inconsistency that ruins Save Me. The dynamics between the various players are off. We don't understand Beth or her powers. (Is she just supposed to help her friend's husband get blowjobs? Is that what god wants?) Without any understanding of the purpose of the show or any inkling of where the story could go, there isn't anything to latch onto and get invested in.

The cast, which also includes Madison Davenport (Shameless), Heather Burns (Bored to Death), Joy Osmanski (The Loop), Stephen Schneider (Best Friends Forever), and Diedrich Bader (Outsourced), though only the females are main characters, is very good. Many of them have been in better projects, and so it's obvious the talent isn't lacking. Were the writing to improve, this is a very solid ensemble and a wonderful show could be built around them. But it doesn't seem like this is to be.

Save Me airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC for now, but likely not for long.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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