WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) -
Call Me Kat Review
Fox Thursday Night at 9pm
Fans of the enormously popular The Big Bang Theory might be missing the members of the ensemble cast. Kaley Cuoco, who didn’t get the respect she deserved for playing the girl next door, Penny – is knocking it out of the park in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant. (see my review). Jim Parsons, who won four Emmys for playing Sheldon Cooper, was recently seen in an Emmy nominated role in Netflix’s “Hollywood.” Four-time Emmy nominee Mayim Bialik has jumped back into the Network sitcom world with her new sitcom on Fox, Call Me Kat.
Sitcoms, especially multi-camera, sitcoms are having a hard go at it right now. The popularity of streaming dramas, limited series and movies leave comedies with a small audience. Once king of television, they are struggling to get ratings. This is even more reason why we need them now.
Bailik is a pro at being funny, she had her first acting job at age 12-and the show works best when she is just being her goofy, nerdy, yet optimistic self, interacting with supporting characters in a scene. She is immensely likable. In the pilot there was a warm, funny scene with Leslie Jordan (of Will and Grace fame) and Kat just talking without a lot hijinks. Jordan does some of his best work here as a jilted lonely employee of Kat’s Cat Café, in Louisville. He’s much more subtle than his famous Emmy nominated work on Will and Grace. Not sure why the show is set in Louisville, KY, it’s a welcome change from NY, Chicago or LA, where so many shows take place, but after watching three episodes, I’m still not sure why the creators made that choice.
Broadway Vet Cheyenne Jackson plays Max, Kat’s high school crush who is back in town. Handsome and charming, Kat thinks he is out of her league, but Max just might have those “feelings” for her. Their scenes together are also funny, honest and full of chemistry.
I am a big fan of Swoosie Kurtz, and I loved her work in Mike and Molly, but here, as Kat’s disappointed mother, Sheila, she just doesn’t work for me. Either she is miscast, poorly written or a combination of both. Furthermore the trope of a mother being heartbroken that her daughter is still single feels old, it’s 2021, not 1955. Her character doesn’t seem to have anything to do except harangue poor Kat, who let’s face it, is adorable.
Kurtz’ character is part of the problem of the show trying too hard, or not having enough confidence. The show works better when it focuses on relationships and not the clunky, sometimes forced plotting and false conflict. Cue the laugh track-actually never cue the laugh track!
But the show has potential and I don’t even mind the breaking of the fourth wall, when Kat talks directly to the camera or the silly bows from the cast at the end, as if they were all just in a play.
One other note on contention, for a cat café, there doesn’t seem to be enough cats on camera, being cute. You can never have enough cats in a show, can you?