100 Questions -- TV Review

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Five minutes into "100 Questions," viewers will have dozens of queries buzzing in their heads, but first they're going to have to shrug off a crusty sense of 1990s sitcom deja vu.

Live studio audience? Check. Incredibly beautiful cast with mysteriously sour love lives? Check. Token nonwhite cast member? Check. Impossibly large New York apartment? Check. Career/jobs downplayed or nonexistent? Double check.

So the first question that comes to mind is: Why was it necessary for "100 Questions" to make it to air? Agreed, the high-concept conceit -- that lead Charlotte Payne, a Brit with a flowing mane who can't find Mr. Right has to answer 100 dating service personality test questions, meaning that in the unlikely event that this series makes it to that syndie milestone they're completely screwed -- does show potential.

Unfortunately, the rest of the show circulates around Charlotte and her bland-beyond-comprehension friends (including creator/executive producer Christopher Moynihan), who lounge around her enormous loft domicile. They're there to help her recover from her boyfriend, who proved crazy when after just three months of dating he proposed to her on JumboTron at a Yankees game. The subsequent forced wackiness that ensues is painfully archaic and played-out, and there's such a disconnect of chemistry among nearly all the actors that it feels as if they recorded their scenes independently, and were all CG-ed into the final product.

As Charlotte, Sophie Winkleman is a pleasant enough personality, but fails to sell as a true center; of the others, the scruffily handsome David Walton (as Wayne) pulls out a last-minute curve ball in the pilot's final seconds, which may hint at some future depth -- but for now, it's all about wading in the shallow end of the pool.

It's just tiresome, especially when you consider the solid, innovative comedy NBC has been selling in recent years. "100 Questions" is a throwback, one which should in fact be thrown back. So one final question: Network executives -- Is this what a loss leader looks like?

Airdate: 9:30-10 p.m. Thursday, May 27 (NBC)
Production: Universal Media Studios, Tagline
Cast: Christopher Moynihan, Sophie Winkleman, David Walton, Smith Cho, Collette Wolfe, Michael Benjamin Washington
Executive producers: Michelle Nader, Christopher Moynihan, Ron West, Kelly Kulchak
Creator-writer: Christopher Moynihan
Co-executive producer: Alex Hardcastle, Liz Astrof, Al Higgins, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel
Consulting producers: Alex Herschlag, Mark Jordan Legan, Rachel Sweet
Producer: Franco Bario
Director: Alex Hardcastle
Director of photography: Michael Price
Production designer: Glenda Rovello
Costume designer: Rhonda Meyers
Casting: Brett Greenstein, Colin Daniel
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