Culture > Television

Little class

Television | Shallow characters populate CBS sitcom

Issue: "Autumn books," Oct. 7, 2006

Have the characters in CBS' The Class wrecked their chances for happiness, or can realignment with each other at age 28 set them on a sunnier path?

Writers of Friends, Mad About You, and Will and Grace created The Class, now airing on CBS (Mondays, 8:00 ET). Buzz about the show focuses on past Emmy wins of the writers and perhaps the hope that by casting Jason Ritter as the central character, the comedic legacy of his late father, John Ritter, might somehow transmit itself through the son.

The anomie of late twentysomethings, all but two of whom haven't spoken since they shared the same third-grade homeroom with Ms. Klinger, comes through in their tragi-comic dilemmas. One character, Richie Velch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), keeps trying to commit suicide, but the phone rings just in time to alert him to the next great party.

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It's too soon to know how the eight main characters will pan out, but it seems the edgiest character, Kat Warbler (Lizzy Caplan), might morph into someone softer, something like Rachel in Friends.

Could it be that the writers hope to mirror that generation by explaining how third-grade choices explain the characters' apparent shallowness? Or do the writers simply plan to caricature their "Peter Pan" lives?


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