January 4th, 2012
11:27 AM ET
Given the advance critiques that ABC's cross-dressing comedy "Work It" was not only offensive but also a seeming knock-off of the '80s show' "Bosom Buddies," it's fair to say expectations weren't high when the half-hour sitcom premiered Tuesday night.
The midseason ABC show stars Benjamin Koldyke as Lee Standish, a salesman who's been hunting for another job after his old one with Pontiac went under. As the Chicago Tribune points out, "Money is so tight at home that his daughter has to give up her cell phone, but not so tight that Lee can't buy a few cold ones every night with his pals."
When he overhears a pharmaceutical sales rep say that her company is hiring, he jumps at it - except they don't really hire men. (Doctors want to "nail them" less, the rep says.)
And so Lee hops into women's wear to land the job, eventually bringing his friend Angel (Amaury Nolasco) into the scheme.
Critics have been unwaveringly unimpressed. "My conclusion is sadly as predictable as the sitcom," says Time's James Poniewozik. "'Work It' is...the kind of bad dumb show you will use in years to come as a benchmark for other bad sitcoms."
Both USA Today and the New York Daily News found that the show's resistance to having the two men dress believably as women blocked whatever wit or commentary on gender issues the show could have had.
"With its references to a 'man-cession' and its contrast between 'manly men' and 'sensitive women,' there are times when 'Work It' seems to be trying to comment on gender issues," says USA Today. "But for those times to register, the show has to make you believe someone could actually mistake these two men for women, a step 'Work It' is too inept or cowardly to take."
It was bad enough to almost inspire a little pity from Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker. "There's no denying this one lousy sitcom," he says. "The kindest interpretation to give 'Work It' is that its premise is also operating in the real world that surrounds it: That in our poor economy, even good actors have to take the work that they can get...I say this without sarcasm: Good luck to the 'Work It' cast."
Meanwhile, star Amaury Nolasco is asking viewers to give the show another chance. "Thank you all for watching "Work It" last night. Meant the world to me. Trust me, when I say it gets even better. I promise!" he tweeted Wednesday.
Did you catch the "Work It" premiere? What did you think?
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