Tuned In

DumbBells

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Wedding Bells - TIME
FOX
The Wedding Bells

It is a weighty responsibility, the job of professional TV judging. Your faithful critic sweats over his assessments of shows. He watches. He re-watches. He jots and ruminates and second-guesses. Mrs. Tuned In, on the other hand, usually needs to see about 30 seconds of a show to reach a judgment, which is usually better than the one than her husband has arrived at using decades of training in TVology.

With The Wedding Bells, premiering tonight on Fox, she did the job in the space of one commercial for the show, about a trio of sisters who plan weddings. “And let me guess,” she said. “Their last name is Bell, isn’t it?” Sigh.

Right you are, Mrs. Tuned In–and really, that sums up the predictability of this high-concept, low-entertainment vehicle that should have been turned into a crappy Sandra Bullock movie, freeing up an hour of TV a week.

Actually, this time around I had the same guess about the show as Mrs. Tuned In, but because of a different tip-off: “Created by David E. Kelley.” Ever since Ally McBeal, Kelley has had an inexplicable reputation as the successful male TV producer who Really Gets Women, even though his shows are full of women who are caricatures, male fantasies or both. (Take the women-lawyer dramedy girls club, which I once named the worst pilot I ever had to sit through, a call that still holds up.) The first episode of Wedding Bells hits on stereotypes from Runaway Brides to Bridezillas, and while there are some flashes of humor, the whole production has an ugly, mean-spirited edge.

Of course, the fact that these are ugly stereotypes that have been embraced by female audiences–in shows like WE’s Bridezillas–may bode well for the ratings; Fox is clearly counting on the huge, mostly female American Idol lead-in. But here’s hoping they say I Don’t.

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