Reviewed by Jeff Walker

My Current TV Comedy Standard – “How I Met Your Mother”
My All-Time TV Comedy Standard – “Seinfeld”

Airs: ABC – Thursdays, 8 p.m/7 p.m. Central time and 8:30 p.m./7:30 p.m. Central time
All episodes also viewable at

A grade-A lead performance cannot overcome an uneven tone and familiar plots that should be sent to detention.

Length: 30 minutes

Genre: Single-camera comedy

Starring: Judy Greer (27 Dresses, 13 Going on 30, “Arrested Development”), Kristoffer Polaha (“North Shore”), Chris Parnell (“Saturday Night Live”), Brooke Burns (“Baywatch”), and Earl Billings (Thank You for Smoking)

Produced By: Ashton Kutcher, Caroline Williams (“The Office”), Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”), Kevin Etten (“Desperate Housewives”)

Synopsis: Quirky high school guidance counselor Becky Freeley returns to her alma mater to give advice to students and vie for the affections of Spanish teacher Tim. She must deal with administrative issues and try to finally outdo former high school cheerleader and current English teacher, Lisa Germain.


Honest Opinion: She may not be the classic beauty and has been relegated to supporting roles in film, but I have always really liked Judy Greer. She’s cute, quirky and seems like one of those women whose personality really grows on you. In “Miss Guided,” she fits that definition to an extent and enthusiastically throws herself into the role of Becky Freeley. Unfortunately, her character is a bit too pathetic at times, which makes it tough to root for and really care about her.

On the whole, the inconsistent tone is one of the weaker elements of the show. At times, Becky is painfully naïve and unaware, which generates some humor, but at the cost of her character seeming real. Without an anchor to reality and surrounded by wacky characters (Chris Parnell channeling his Dr. Spaceman character from “30 Rock”) who are more amusing than actually funny, the show strains to maintain interest. The writers would be wise to take a page from the aforementioned “30 Rock,” and make Becky more similar to Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon character in terms of being smart and relatable, in spite of some geekier quirks and wackier traits.

“Miss Guided” only has four more new episodes airing over the next few weeks. With ABC scheduling back-to-back episodes of the show on Thursday nights, it seems like they are not giving it much of a chance. The show would benefit from being surrounded by new episodes of popular shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” or paired with a similar comedy like “Samantha Who.” Instead, a show that struggles to maintain interest over thirty minutes is forced to do so for a full hour. Overall, “Miss Guided” is amusing, has its moments, and is led by the great Greer, but isn’t funny or endearing enough to inspire any “Save Our Show” campaigns.

Directing: The show employs a “talking to the camera” element similar to “The Office,” but without any justification for it. While it leads to a few funny scenes or humorous revelations, it slows down the pace and seems unnecessary. Similar “Family Guy”-esque cutaways are also very hit or miss and instead of doing anything new, seem to remind you of shows that do and have done it better. Aside from that, the direction is fluid and non-intrusive.

Writing: The writers give Becky some interesting characteristics, but the lack of consistency is annoying. Becky also needs to become more relatable, as only Greer prevents the character from being a shrill, annoying, mess of a woman. There are moments when Becky seems to be a great guidance counselor and self-aware, while other scenes suggest differently. Tim’s Spanish teacher that is struggling to learn the language is funny and becomes more rounded as the series goes along, which is nice.

The plots and characters arcs are all pretty typical. There’s the obligatory will they-won’t they romance, rival from the past that constantly reminds Becky how lame she was in high school, and the charming outsider who threatens Becky’s loyalties to Tim. If anything, the show needs to establish more overarching goals for the characters and the plot. Otherwise, the series can never grow and it seems like Becky is forever hopeless.

Acting: Given the material, the actors all do a pretty solid job. Judy Greer is the standout and carries the show through the inconsistencies of the writing. Brooke Burns will never win an Emmy, but she also isn’t a detriment. Parnell’s vice principal character could be toned down a bit to resist becoming too much of a caricature. Even Mr. Belding wasn’t this over-the-top.

To Quote the Show: “Keena, homecoming is spelled C-O-M.” – Becky Freeley

Verdict: Check it out if you like Never Been Kissed or have nothing else to really watch. It isn’t bad, but not worth Tivo-ing or altering your normal TV-viewing schedule.

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