"SAMANTHA WHO?: THE COMPLETE
SECOND AND FINAL SEASON"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Christina Applegate as SAMANTHA
Jennifer Esposito as ANDREA
Melissa McCarthy as DENA
Barry Watson as TODD
Tim Russ as FRANK
Jean Smart as REGINA
Kevin Dunn as HOWARD
Studio: ABC Studios
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It’s been a year since Samantha Newley (Christina Applegate) woke up from a coma and had to put her life back together while suffering from amnesia. Now, her doctor has given her a clean bill of health, and she has to continue to reconstruct her life while knowing that her memories might never fully return. This season sees more relationship drama as Samantha and Todd (Barry Watson) try dating other people while living together. Andrea (Jennifer Esposito) finds a symbiotic celebrity relationship with a basketball star, and Dena (Melissa McCarthy) also finds her man. Samantha’s parents are also present to deal with more fall-out from their daughter’s new life.
WHAT I LIKED
“Samantha Who?” had a strange instance of hitting a stride in the second season and bogging down at the same time. On the positive side, the characters did find their places better, and this is the real charm of this second season.
Dena is no longer utterly pathetic, but rather a cute foil to the stuck-up Andrea. In a strange way, Dena has become the most reliable character when she came on so strong as the potential Samantha stalker in season one.
Andrea has become a caricature, which works well for this sort of character. We don’t want depth in the shallow comic relief, and this state of Andrea’s character is rather ironic considering Christina Applegate got her start on TV playing a very similar shallow caricature in “Married... with Children.”
There were some good opportunities for Samantha to actually have a decent relationship outside of her somewhat mopey existence with Todd. It was nice to see her stretch her wings a bit for this. All these factors played into the comedy, which had developed with a focus on these people. There is still the formula of Sam trying to right wrongs, and she’s always remembering some key element to her life in each episode, but the show seems to have moved more into her future than her past. It’s too bad it was cancelled before this could fully play out.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The original premise of “Samantha Who?” – being Sam’s desire to fix her wretched life from before the accident – wears a bit thin. Were this not the final season, the show could have developed into a quirky series about a woman and her friends. It does get weighed down with the “fixing” premise a little bit, and this may have been responsible for killing the series.
The real sticking point in season two for me was the character of Todd. Like almost every other characters that Barry Watson has played, Todd is a weak-willed slouch of a man. He’s not a good catch and just floats around the screen. I know the folks making this show want us to root for him, and he is the “nice guy” in the mix, but the fun-loving character of Sam could do so much better.
The DVD set comes with bloopers and deleted scenes from throughout the season. There’s also a set tour with Christina Applegate (in which it seems that the star is being coerced into doing) and an unedited spotlight on the dance number with Christina Applegate and Jean Smart.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like dramadies that aren’t too edgy and play nice.