18 to Life a Stiff Sentence, Appeal Pending

There was an old story, perhaps apocryphal, about the famed New York theatre critic Clive Barnes. Someone asked why he always was kind to the first play he reviewed at the start of every season, to which Barnes supposedly replied, “Who am I to stone the first cast.”
Which brings us to tonight’s debut of the new CBC comedy 18 to Life (8 p.m.).
The cast is not the problem with this sitcom, with Disney ‘Tween TV vet and Etobicoke School of the Arts grad Michael Seater and Degrassi girl Stacey Farber as sweet teen neighbours who get engaged on a dare. This comes over the objections of both families and hilarity ensues. Peter Keleghan plays one outraged dad, Ellen David, Alain Goulem and Angela Asher round out the cast.
The series was at one time on ABC’s radar way back when cross border production show swaps were all the rage.
Then, I guess, the scripts came in, and this show got stopped at the border faster than a carry on bag full of aerosol cans. It has taken so long for CBC to get this show off the ground solo they almost had to change the title to 25 to 54.
Still, The Middle isn’t all that funny yet still draws a small crowd, as does the increasingly unfunny show 18 to Life is paired with tonight, Little Mosque. There seems to be a longing for a good old fashioned family comedy on TV. Maybe this could grow up to be it.
Keleghan deserves better; I wish that Robert Evans-like character he plays on those airplane ads would be spun off on a sitcom. That I would watch.

4 Responses to “18 to Life a Stiff Sentence, Appeal Pending”

  1. I haven’t seen it, so I have no opinion, but the review in the Globe and Mail felt like it was trying really hard to be positive. But then: “Does 18 to Life work as TV comedy? It’s not Modern Family, but it’s not bad, and it is Canadian, don’t forget.” That’s two things I don’t like about so many reviews of homegrown shows: treating with kid gloves, plus spelling out that you’re grading on a curve because it’s Canadian, which does a show no favours. And yet if you don’t … here come the angry emails from people associated with the show.

    Reply
  2. Yeah, I agree, Diane. My nearly 17-year-old doesn’t stop and give a show points for country of origin. It’s either funny or lame on his radar. If it’s funny and Canadian, bonus, break out the flag. (He will, however, love CTV’s Dan For Mayor, no matter what, since his name is Daniel. Sorta like why Doyle loves Republic of Doyle.)

    Reply
  3. Hi Bill. I’m not a fan of people who comment on their own shows, but I feel compelled to clear up a few facts. While ABC was indeed on board for the pilot, they did not “pull out once the scripts came in”. That’s not how these things work. ABC came on for the pilot only, and had their fingerprints all over this script. It was a longshot from the beginning (we were up against Kelsey Grammar and “Modern Family”) but a very fruitful collaboration, and an extremely difficult decision for ABC to finally take a pass (a decision not all their execs agreed with). We wish they could have seen some of the later scripts, once the concept had a chance to find it’s legs, but that isn’t part of the protocal.

    As for CBC’s taken so long to make this show they “almost had to change the title to 25 to 54” (note to self: idea for a spinoff) that’s also false. We shot this pilot in 2008, taking the time to iron out some of the bugs. CBC greenlit this the moment they were allowed to early 2009, and we shot the series this past summer. That’s a normal television timeline.

    While I remain a fan of your blog, please don’t fill in your gaps of knowledge with assumptions. There’s enough misinformation on the web as is, you’re too good a blogger for that! And I hope you give our show a shot — I may be biased, but I believe we really did find our legs.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for weighing in, Scribbler, facts and information are always welcome here. I will keep watching 18 to Life and if I find myself laughing out loud I’ll be the first to get the word out on a good second impression.

    Reply

Leave a Reply