Cupid: Where’s Jar Jar?



No, that wasn’t a happy sigh. It wasn’t a sigh of contentment. It was disappointment and disillusionment and disgust. It was lamentation of the fact that Rob Thomas has trodden on his own creation with the same ham-handed, tin-eared lack of grace George Lucas demonstrated with Phantom Menace. It was just a sigh.

Cupid, for the many who don’t remember it, was a short-lived ABC romcom from the ’98-’99 season. It starred Jeremy Piven as the titular god of love (maybe) and Paula Marshall as the cynical, down to Earth psychiatrist assigned to cure his insanity (or was it?) It ran for only 15 episodes with a few mediocre, a few pretty bad, and one or two absolute gems. I challenge anyone to watch the episode “Heart of the Matter” and not find the room getting dusty.

So a couple of years back, Rob Thomas was talking with ABC trying to come up with a new show that incorporated some of the same themes and motifs and eventually both sides decided he should just redo Cupid. After all, this isn’t the ABC of the late ’90s; today’s ABC could easily find a place to slot in a romcom. So remake and redo they did.


I have little to say that I haven’t already said, but in case you missed my comment on Sepinwall’s blog ((That’s right: rehashed content. I feel terrible about it.)) and didn’t see my Twitter stream…

  • It took me all of three minutes to decide if in future I really wanted to watch a brittle blond with little charisma on Tuesday night, I’d jump to TNT and suffer through Monica Potter over Sarah Paulson.
  • The original was wonderfully ambiguous with Trevor’s marksmanship. With the dart trick, he threw several bullseyes in a reflection, but no one saw it but us. It was always possible we were intended to share in his delusion. Here, he throws one and with Claire seeing it, it loses that subtlety.
  • *Five* songs. That’s great, because it saves Rob Thomas the effort of writing dialog, but it’s a cheap shorthand.

I may end up reconsidering Veronica Mars and Party Down in light of this pilot. It really hurt me that much.

I was thinking I might give this another shot if a great guest star got cast, but it would just irritate me again. For all his charisma, Bobby Cannavale is no Jeremy Piven. For all her absolute lack of charisma, Sarah Paulson is…ugh. And the script was hackneyed where the original was subtle. Just really poor execution all around.

Did anyone else watch? Like? Dislike? Think I’m a crazy old coot who doesn’t adapt well to change?


Alan Sepinwall set me straight in his comments about the original flavor dart trick. Trevor did throw more than one bullseye and Claire wasn’t watching, but he wasn’t alone when he did it. It was less ambiguous than I remembered. Here’s a link to the video, where you can see the trick around the 6:30 mark. You might also want to watch whole episodes there, since they’re SO MUCH BETTER.