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The Telefile
<I>Sean Saves the World</I>: Save Yourselves

Every season, there's always one show that is just so downright terrible that we struggle to figure out how it made it to the final fall schedule. This year, Sean Saves the World is that show. We understand that Sean Hayes and his name recognition is likely why the network gave it a shot, but you'd think that at some point in the pilot process someone would have realized that this sitcom was nearly unwatchable, scrapped the plot/premise and started from scratch.

But sadly, no one halted this trainwreck, so they slapped on a laugh track (or gave an audience some happy pills) and called it a day. What we're left with is the Will & Grace scene-stealer starring as a gay man whose baby mama has taken off for some reason and left him to care for his teenage daughter (Samantha Isler). He's so desperate to be the world's best single dad that he's wildly overcompensating in every way possible. I think she'd be happy just living in that freakishly large apartment, the kind that you only see on TV. Thought it mostly looks like they remodeled the Frasier set and left the set decoration at that.

Sean's mom (Linda Lavin) is quite negative about his ability to raise his daughter full-time, but she always seems to be available to lend a helping hand. Not that he really appreciates it as the two seem to coexist by trading barbs back and forth. And while Sean appears desperate for his daughter Ellie's approval, she actually comes across as fairly well adjusted.

On the work front, Sean has a demanding new boss, Max (Thomas Lennon), whom everyone in the office seems to hate. He's recently purchased the online retail company (it seems like QVC but online?) and expects a lot of overtime from his staff, especially Sean since he's the manager. But Sean has to make contrived problems for himself because God forbid he actually exist like the rest of the people who manage to single parent. His 14-year-old is in perfectly capable hands either on her own or with her grandmother, but he insists that they spend time together having dinner... even though she'd rather be out with her friends. And takeout isn't good enough for Sean -- no, he has to cook from scratch with a specially purchased chicken. (Maybe the person who works for an online company could learn about grocery delivery?) So even though his boss outright denies his request to leave early, Sean opts to sneak out of the bathroom window with his giant chicken and then risks losing his job once his boss demands to know why he took off. It's a solidly stupid plan.

It's forced dreck like Sean Saves the World that makes us want to bang our head against the wall. There's a talented cast available, including Smash refugee Megan Hilty (who really is in need of a much better job) and even Vik Sahay (a.k.a. Lester from Chuck), and all of these performers are capable of far more than this material. Lennon even has a bird that mimics him, like that's not going to get grating soon... or already.

Frankly, the Nickelodeon show Wendell & Vinnie actually manages to hit more realistic notes in depicting a grown man suddenly trying to parent a smart well-adjusted kid and that show is meant for children. Sean Saves the World is ostensibly aimed at adults but yet really comes off as totally immature. We don't mind some goofy pratfalls (we adored Happy Endings, for example), but this is about 12 steps too far. Watching Sean Hayes get hit in the head with a chicken and then fall through two side tables really held zero appeal.

We'd be remiss if we didn't also note that the show's title is sublimely stupid. We thought it was cute and ironic when Andy Richter "controlled the universe," but here it is just a gross overstatement in every single way possible. Sure, someone thought it would be hysterical because it's everyone around Sean who is responsible for doing the saving, but mostly the title just seems to foreshadow how, after a few more episodes, we'll be writing how Sean couldn't even save his own show, much less anything else.

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