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TV Series Review

In Claudia Casey’s world there are only two kinds of people: elitists convinced they’re free from flaws, and realists who know they’re Less Than Perfect. She’s the latter. Nearly everyone around her is the former. Appearing in ABC’s Tuesday night comedy lineup, Claudia (played by Popular’s Sara Rue) works as an assistant to New York City TV news anchor Will Butler (Eric Roberts). Will is the epitome of high maintenance. He’s obsessed with his looks, his career and his ability to schmooze. Claudia’s co-workers are equally snooty, spending more time scheming for promotions and recognition than working for them.

Keeping Claudia sane are a couple of friends she used to work with downstairs. Andy Dick is Owen, the loyal, dorky office-supply guy (rehashing his role as the loyal, dorky radio guy from NewsRadio). Sherri Shepherd is the sweet and loving Ramona, who serves as both Claudia’s quiet voice of reason in times of trouble, and her voice of full-throttle enthusiasm when there’s a party nearby.

Less Than Perfect lives up to its name, but it’s not a lost cause. Despite morals to the story being hard to come by (writers busy themselves crafting clever insults) Claudia does make a worthwhile statement about integrity and respect when she refuses to swipe someone’s umbrella. She says that having hers stolen doesn’t give her the right to take the next person’s. "Where would it all end?" she asks. She also takes the time to chew out her brother for being "one of those guys" after he stands up a date.

Alcohol makes frequent appearances at parties and at work (Claudia and her boss drink together in his office). Swearing isn’t incessant, but the terms "b--ch," "bastard" and "jacka--" are all exercised. Likewise, the "mount of sexual innuendo on this series isn’t excessive, but there are sly allusions to anatomy, porn, lesbianism, sperm banks and "hooking up."

Sitcom producers rarely take the time to surprise their audiences. So by virtue of occasionally trying, Less Than Perfect stands out. That makes it more compelling than, say, Good Morning Miami, but it won’t make families forgive dirty jokes and rude dialogue.

Episodes Reviewed: March 11, 18, April 29, May 6, 20, 2003

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Steven Isaac

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