Thursday, November 10, 2005

Stacked returns - Pamela Anderson's comedic verve

Stacked, the comedy set in a bookshop and featuring the comedic verve of Pamela Anderson, returned to television yesterday. The show was pretty good in its first season, which saw Pamela Anderson's character, Skylar, a ditzy blonde, join a motley bunch of characters at a bookshop. Each of the characters was well-drawn and the acting was above par, sitcom-wise.

The new season attempted to take up where the past left off, but the hiatus seems to have affected the chemistry between the characters, though it is still early in this season. The humor was patchy and edgy. The product placement - books published by Harper Collins - continued apace, featuring "Anansi Boys" and "YOU: The Owner’s Manual”. It was an entertaining episode, with a wry look at Pamela's ability to be affectionate without realizing the consequences on lesser mortals.(My review of the first season of Stacked)

Skylar comes to work and spreads some love, to the disconcertment of the bookstore employees and patrons. She does this with everyone except the owner, Gavin, played by Elon Gold, making him fretful. His brother, Stuart, played by Gavin Scolaro responds avidly to Skylar, before he is pulled back from the brink of over-commitment by the patron-in-residence, Harold, a retired rocket scientist. The tension Gavin feels at not being appreciated by Skylar is explainable only if you know that there was an indeterminate romantic attraction between the two in the first season. The tension is resolved, and other tangential subplots introduced like a lovestruck customer who is only too delighted when Stuart tells her he loves her in an attempt to prove to Skylar that he says this to everyone. Skylar does this out of a sense of self-assurance, on the other hand, not to prove anything.

Skylar's high sense of self-esteem was contrasted with the follow-on episode of "Trading Spouses", where a hyper-tensive reject from Jerry Springer freaked out when her space was invaded by someone from the 'dark side'. Her over-reaction was violent and evidently traumatic for the whole family. While a lot of the histrionics may have been 'managed' for effect, and the individual possibly a deliberately chosen negative stereotype, the viewing experience was interesting, in a tragic way.

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