This week I was psyched to see some great actresses, the kind usually relegated to the periphery, carry their own shows. In The Return of Jezebel James, indie queen Parker Posey lives with Lauren Ambrose, the troubled, dark, smart sister on Six Feet Under, who plays…Posey's troubled, dark, smart sister. The show, which I'd been so excited about, is entirely unwatchable. Every time Posey, a book editor, skipped through her multi-million dollar NYC loft, I rolled my eyes; every time the overzealous laugh track kicked in, I hunched my shoulders in embarrassment.
Burned, I was skeptical about trying out the other girl-power season premiere, starring Judy Greer. For years, I've loved Greer, who paid her dues as the perennially quirky-best-friend-sidekick (13 Going on 30, The Wedding Planner, 27 Dresses). Even though she's a funny, sympathetic actress, I think her looks—you know, like a regular person instead of a plastic surgery cyborg of perfection—kept her from nabbing lead roles. So I was beyond excited to see her get her own show, Miss Guided (despite its being produced by Ashton Kutcher). It's a cross between Never Been Kissed and Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, where she plays former-nerd Becky Freely, who goes back to work as a guidance counselor at her high school alma mater. Watching her hide behind a car while her rival (a total former prom queen) hits on Freely's Spanish-teacher crush is a heart-swelling rush. The flashbacks to Freely's high school yearbook are hysterical, even with a few clichéd jokes about headgear. A few days after being crushed by Jezebel James, Miss Guided restored my hope in (TV) humanity.