I started watching for a post-Chuck Zachary Levi fix.  I ended up falling in love with Sara Rue, Eric Roberts and Will Sasso, and gaining a newfound appreciation for Patrick Warburton.

A sitcom which lasted for just 4 seasons – or, more precisely, 3 and a few extra episodes – with all the usual suspects; not too much character development, someone to root for, people to love to hate, a comic relief and those extra side characters you either love or hate.

The show is set in the offices of a television news network, with a focus on Claude Casey, a corporate floater who gets ‘promoted’ from 4th floor supplies up to the magical 22nd floor to be the assistant to the anchor himself.  Needless to say, the people who thought they were getting that job aren’t too impressed…

The Characters

Sara Rue is Claude Casey: plump, cheerful, different but excellent at her job, she doesn’t let the negativity of her reception get to her and over the course of the series even just about gets them liking her.

Eric Roberts is Will Butler, national news anchor.  Naturally, he’s a boss who either doesn’t notice or chooses to ignore the rivalries happening just outside his office, relying on Claude to look after him with matters both professional and personal.

Zachary Levi is Kipp Steadman, assistant to the assistant looking to get to the top and horrified by the intrusion of a Claude who he sees as someone who doesn’t belong anywhere near him.  Often seen being well dressed and having tastes outside of his income bracket.

Patrick Warburton joins in the second season as another anchor, Jeb Denton, who takes Kipp on as his assistant – or, as he likes to call him, “Secretary.”  If you’ve seen Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement), you can guess what kind of character he was; funny, but in a stern kind of way.  Which I’m not saying is a bad thing, but he is to comedy as Zachary Levi is to being a villain.

Andrea Parker, Lydia Weston, is Kipp’s partner in crime, whether it’s trying to sabotage Claude, mock Claude and her friends, or save themselves from the trouble they inevitably get themselves into.  Yes, these are your two you love to hate.

The sidekicks:

Sherri Shepherd (Ramona) and Andy Dick (Owen) are the friends Claude leaves when she shoots up to the top floor.  Refusing to be left behind, they’re often upstairs visiting her, with the added benefit of it being a great annoyance to Kip and Lydia.

Ramona’s the boisterous black friend to Claude’s polite, sunny and friendly, while Owen is the geek in supplies whose main character traits that I can remember were his lesbian mothers and that he was homeschooled.

Will Sasso (Carl)  first appeared as Claude’s neighbour; his intimidating height and size hides a sweet, funny, silly man who likes to invite himself into Claude’s apartment (nothing horrible, this is a comedy) and manipulates her into getting him a job at the network, where he gets more screen time by becoming the manager of the cafe where they work.

Personally I loved Carl, but while Ramona and Owen were funny, I sometimes would have preferred a story that focused more on the others and less on them.

Conclusion

I would definitely recommend it, though it’s hard to track down – there only seems to be a DVD of season 1, and the episodes of season 4 are especially hard to find, though there are a few on Youtube.

Sara Rue is currently in Malibu Country – a transformation from bigger and redhaired to thin and blonde! (Although if you look at season 1 and then season 4, there’s already a noticeable difference.)

Zachary Levi is currently in Chuck nothing, but he was the main character in Tangled, which was  a really fun film, go watch that.

Patrick Warburton is currently in Rules of Engagement and apparently does a few Family Guy voices, who knew.

Will Sasso also did a few Family Guy voices! I feel like I should try and watch some more of it…

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