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Newcomer Josh Cooke has quickly jumped onto Hollywood's radar screen in landing the lead role of Nate Solomon in NBC’s mid-season comedy “Committed.” Cooke has appeared in such series as "Without a Trace," "Century City," "Once and Again," "10-8" and "Dragnet." Last year, Cooke starred as the character Con in the acclaimed Fringe Festival's production of "Twelfth Premise" in Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition, Cooke has been recognized for his acting work with such awards as the James Pendleton Foundation Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Performance and the Judith & Milton R. Stark Scholarship. Cooke has studied his craft at Playhouse West (Los Angeles), UCLA, and with such renowned coaches as Ann Reinking, Lesly Kahn and Gregory Hines. Cooke currently resides in Los Angeles. Cooke's birthday is February 9.
Josh Cooke stars in the first NBC new sitcom of the New Year ''Committed''
It's called "Committed" , and it's a romantic comedy about two crazy kids - crazy as in certifiable - who fall in love.
Nate (Josh Cooke) is a packrat genius with fears of everything from success to elevators. Marni (Jennifer Finnigan) is a chirpy ball of energy who has a dying clown subletting the closet of her New York apartment.
In tonight's episode, they meet and date. In next week's episode, she visits his place - when he's not there - and reacts positively to the tottering towers of magazines, books and odd collections.
"I have seen your apartment," Marni tells Nate afterward, "and I'm still here."
Well, I have seen your show, Marni and Nate, and I'm not.
"Committed" is such an unfunny sitcom that it ought to be categorized as a half-hour drama. Every sight gag and punch line is accompanied by a soundtrack of peals of laughter or grateful applause, which makes me wish I were watching whatever had been screened when the laugh track originally was recorded. They couldn't have been watching "Committed" - or else they should be.
In the year 2005, NBC is still trying to find, and produce, the next "Friends." The network has been on this unsuccessful quest for almost a decade now, and continues to bat zeroes.
Setting a sitcom about young people in New York doesn't make it "Friends," and turning up the volume on the laugh track to unendurable levels doesn't make it funnier.
"Committed" comes from creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, who also teamed for "Three Sisters" four years ago. Don't remember that non-Chekhovian sitcom? Don't worry. In a lot less than four years, you won't remember "Committed," either.
Supporting players include Tammy Lynn Michaels as Marni's best friend across the hall (where do they get their ideas?), and Tom Poston, sullying a long and distinguished comedy career by playing the closeted clown. Even so, he's funnier than anyone else in "Committed," but he has an advantage: fewer lines.
This show is occupying the "Scrubs" time slot, but probably not for long. Whatever decisions have led to NBC's flopapalooza of a schedule this season are continuing to be exercised as we head into 2005.
The network gets points for consistency - but not, with programs such as "Committed," for anything else.
NBC's new romantic comedy ''Committed''
NBC is a-wishin' and a-hopin' that we can somehow become committed to "Committed," a loopily frantic romantic comedy that premieres at 9:30 tonight and will soon be paired with "Scrubs" on Tuesdays.
Though it's not immediately as clever or smart as "Scrubs," these affably rambunctious, though erratic, tales of screwball soul mates Nate (Josh Cooke) and Marni (Jennifer Finnigan, "Crossing Jordan") have a playful spark of authentic wit. And they're blessed with the delightfully daft presence of Finnigan.
Series creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnne Heline, who have previously written for "Roseanne," "Murphy Brown" and "Ellen," obviously know how to write a funny lady. And Finnigan, who earned two Daytime Emmys for her soap opera work as Bridget Foster on "The Bold and the Beautiful," is certainly the potential breakout Froot Loop of "Committed."
The series revolves around the odd couple romance of Nate and Marni, two eccentric New Yorkers who meet through the cockeyed sitcom circumstance of mistaken identity on a blind date.
OK, Marni's the free spirited eccentric. Newcomer Josh Cooke's beyond-neurotic Nate is a bundle of obsessive fears and phobias. In fact, his ultra-cluttered apartment is a jumble of compulsive pack rat excess. But hey, "Monk" has spun fun out of Tony Shalhoub's obsessive compulsive detective. So we're obviously supposed to laugh along with Nate's excessive, wacko behavior.
Even so, "Committed" seems a little out of whack itself at first because of Cooke's brilliant but disturbed Nate, who works at a vintage record store. Nate's own comic charm in this yin-yang mating dance may be an acquired taste. But Finnigan is lots of fun. She's got screwball game.
"Sparkling water," she tells a waiter when he asks for her drink order, then blurts out: "Wait, I forgot. I'm off the medication now. I'll have a merlot!"
There are also surreal chuckles to be had in the news that Marni has a "dying clown" quietly living in the closet of her apartment. Don't ask. They'll explain. But comedy veteran Tom Poston ("Newhart") is a deadpan hoot as the supposedly doomed clown. Now if only abnormal Nate wasn't so disconcertingly, well, nuts.
Either way, chances are "Committed" won't be NBC's first breakout comedy hit since "Will & Grace." But compared with a laugh disaster like "Good Morning, Miami" or "Coupling," I'd say "Committed" is a borderline classic. At least I was momentarily amused with a few genuine giggles
Josh Cooke plays neurotic math genius in the new sitcom ''Committed''
Mental illness is the new sex. NBC's new sitcom, "Committed," a series centered on the romance between Nate (Josh Cooke), an obsessive-compulsive math genius and his nutty girlfriend, Marni (Jennifer Finnigan), makes it clear: psychological disorders are the next big thing. First there was "Mad About You," then "Friends," "Sex and the City" and "Will & Grace."
Committed" is a much more conventional sitcom than "Arrested Development," a farcical Fox comedy that also makes light of the latest trends in neurosis and brain chemistry, but it is amusing, particularly when it pushes the boundaries of black humor and political correctness. (It is an equal opportunity lampoon of disabilities, from a dying clown who lives in a walk-in closet, to Marni's friend Todd (RonReaco Lee), a passive-aggressive black man in a wheelchair who torments Nate behind his back. "Just because I'm in a wheelchair doesn't mean I can't play basketball," he tells Nate. "And just because I'm black doesn't mean I can."
The evolution from Eros to Id has been gradual. Risqué jokes about sex were at the center of sitcoms about the urban singles scene like "Seinfeld," "Friends" and "Sex and the City," but the humor eventually wore thin. ("Coupling," an NBC knock-off of a sex-obsessed British sitcom, flopped.) NBC's "Will & Grace" set a milestone by introducing gay leading men to a network sitcom, but the series' funniest riffs revolve around Karen's screwball substance abuse.
"Committed" may be the first network sitcom explicitly to frame psychological disorders as a central comic conceit, but the mental health motif began showing up years ago in books like "Prozac Nation" and "The Corrections," and it is part of the landscape in movies from as "As Good as It Gets" to "Garden State." The theme is not even new to television, though until now it has mostly popped up on cable, from HBO's "Sopranos," which began as the story of a mobster who consults a psychiatrist about his anxiety attacks, to "Monk," the USA series about an obsessive-compulsive detective. (That show is merely a modern revival of a 1970's trend in detective series. Back then, physical disability, not neurotic compulsion, was the fashion: Raymond Burr played a sleuth in a wheelchair on "Ironside," James Franciscus was a blind one on "Longstreet," and on "Cannon," William Conrad played a detective who was dangerously fat.)
Sitcoms have always relied on eccentrics and kooky characters, but "Committed" takes it further, right into the cuckoo's nest. Nate, a math genius whose family makes the Tennenbaums seem like the Partridge family, works in a used-record store and nurses his fixations: he has an obsessive fear of elevators, blocked emergency exits and throwing things out. One episode revolves around Nate's attempts to keep Marni from seeing his apartment, which looks like a cross between the CollyerBrothers' brownstone and the schizophrenic mathematician's garage in "A Beautiful Mind."
Or perhaps worse. Marni's friend and neighbor Tess (Tammy Lynn Michaels), a nanny with her own set of psychological blocks, helps Marni break into Nate's apartment and declares that it looks like the Unabomber's cabin. "We should probably go," she tells Marni. "The police are going to want to talk to you before he kills again."
"Committed" has charm and wit, but its success depends on the writing and the lasting power of the two leads. Mr. Cooke is appealing in the role of Nate, but he seems a little wholesome for someone who makes Venn diagrams to map out a conversational point.
Ms. Finnigan has a lively presence as Marni, though her vivacity at times verges on the shrill. Marni is an occupational therapist who is wacky and almost psychotically cheerful and optimistic. Her diagnosis is left undeclared, but she clearly has some issues of her own. On her first date with Nate, she asks the waiter for sparkling water, then changes her mind.
"I keep forgetting I'm off the medication now," she says gaily. "I'll have a merlot."
Josh Cooke commits to ''Committed''
Chemistry is such a mysterious quality. You either have it or you don't. And if you're starring in a screwball romantic comedy, well, you had better pray you boast it in spades if viewers are going to care about your character and his or her wacky adventures.
Josh Cooke and Jennifer Finnigan have a nice free-flowing rapport in Committed, a promising new NBC comedy about two polar opposite New York City personalities who meet cute and start dating.
Think of it as The Odd Couple. Except one of the characters is a woman. And there's sex involved.
Nate is a genius phobic guy who freaks out when someone is blocking the emergency exit at a restaurant. Marni is an eccentric optimist who has a dying clown living in her closet.
More on that later.
Nate is the kind of guy who buys Marni a gas mask so she can live longer and they can get to know each other better. Marni is the kind of kooky gal who thinks nothing of bringing her shoe repair guy's cousin with her on a date.
And ya gotta love a free-spirit woman who's willing to put up with a near-death clown (Newhart's Tom Poston) shacking up in her closet because he came packaged with the crib.
Hey, don't you know how tough it is to find a decent — and affordable — apartment in The Big Apple?
OK, so that whole clown thing only happens in dopey sitcomland.
It's no secret that The Sitcom is going through a rough patch — and has for several years. When you think about it, the last great breakout hit was Will & Grace many moons ago.
While Committed won't make anyone forget Frasier or Seinfeld, it's certainly several notches above Come to Papa, NBC's dismal replacement comedy that briefly aired last summer.
Both Nate and Marni are instantly charming and likable. They look like low-rent versions of Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore.
You just want to pinch their cheeks and go, "Awwwwwwwwwwwww."
The supporting cast, however, can use some work. Although Poston is appropriately grumpy, Darius McCrary (Family Matters) offers nothing even remotely funny as Nate's friend and co-worker. His idea of making us laugh is to make gag-inducing cracks about stabbing his friend.
Tammy Lynn Michaels (The L Word) fares slightly better as Marni's sarcastic nanny who lives across the hall.
Dating can be a chore, as most singles will tell you. It's not much work, though, to sit through the mildly amusing Committed.