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Is Necessary Roughness' Dani the Most Unlikable USA Lead?

The slogan of the network is "Characters Welcome," but after last week's premiere of Necessary Roughness, we're thinking they might want to change that to Characters Unwelcome. While there are some decent things about the show, including a supporting cast that includes Buffy's Mark Blucas and True Blood's Mechad Brooks, the lead is utterly annoying and off-putting. Irritating characters are often the norm on other networks, but USA has built their brand on successfully creating quirky characters who may be tough, but are also completely charismatic. Until now.

Dani Santino is a therapist who is in the middle of the process of a messy divorce and meets a handsome guy (Mark Blucas) that hooks her up with a gig providing counseling to a wide receiver who can't catch balls. It's based on a real-life person and while we imagine this woman has to be tough to deal with pro football playing clients, we hope that she's got more personality than Dani does here...for her own sake.

I get that she's supposed to be edgy and commanding, but so is In Plain Sight's Mary, and she has some redeeming qualities. Dani basically has no sense of humor, is oblivious to the world and how things actually work (like divorce, or football, or child-rearing) and we're still scratching our heads as to why anyone would go to her as a therapist or want to date her. She's angry all the time. Her kids don't really seem to even like her, and her ex-husband certainly has plenty of reasons to hate her (even if he was the cheating one). She doles out lovely lines like, "You are so full of it that the city should charge you a sewer tax." And we're supposed to find her endearing? Suffice it to say, she's no Dr. Melfi.

How does she fit with the crazy guys on Psych? The debonair con artist on White Collar? The sexy former spy on Burn Notice? Royal Pains' casual doctor? Or Suits' power lawyer with a secret soft spot for his protégé? Even dopey Annie on Covert Affairs is kind of awkwardly adorable. Dani sticks out like a sore thumb, as she bullies her way through her client sessions and yells a lot in a terrible unfortunate way. It's hard to care about her fate, or sympathize with her when her kids are being bitchy, so that makes her and this show a hard sell, and that's too bad for the rest of this cast who suffer from being in the same show as her.

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Watch TWoP's editors preview the summer's most pleasant TV surprises in this segment airing on the New York Nonstop cable news channel:

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