Pulling

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Airdate: 9-9:30 p.m. Sun., Oct. 19 (Sundance Channel)

Further proof of a thriving international TV market is the availability to Americans of "Pulling," a thickly accented Britcom with some genuinely funny moments. Equally important, it provides exposure on this side of the Atlantic to several talented performers.

In the first of its six episodes, 29-year-old Donna (creator-actor Sharon Horgan) breaks up with longtime boyfriend Karl (Cavan Clerkin) shortly before their wedding day. Until then, Donna had been blithely coasting through life, doing what was expected. But now she finds herself wondering "what it would be like to chop his head off."

Her bold decision to call it quits suggests we're about to see a new assertive Donna, determined to remake her life according to her dreams. Alas, her surprising decision is mostly followed by a return to form. She moves in with her good friends Karen (Tanya Franks) and Louise (Rebekah Staton) and divides her time between finding a new job and standing suicide watch over her miserably unhappy ex.

At some point during the second episode, the show veers sharply. Donna loses her edge and the character shrinks before our eyes. At the same time, the spotlight shifts to hard-partying Karen and man-hungry Louise, both played with all the gusto that their richly comedic personas provide.

The handoff from Donna to her friends, though unusual, is no reason to bail out on the series. In fact, it is what saves the show. For proof, watch the second episode when Karen reads a children's book to her young students, imbuing the story with the emotions of her own bitter love life. Or, in the same episode, watch Louise pull out all the stops to seduce a clueless guy that Karen has just cast off.

"Pulling," a showcase for the fine work of Horgan, Franks and Stanton, wouldn't be an easy fit for most schedules but it should work nicely on the Sundance Sunday night comedy block in the time slot previously held by "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle" with Jennifer Saunders and Miranda Richardson.

Silver River
Executive producer: Daisy Goodwin;
Producer: Phil Bowker;
Director: Tristram Shapeero;
Creators: Sharon Horgan, Dennis Kelly;
Director of photography: Rob Kitzmann;
Editor: Kevin Lane; Casting: Jo Buckingham, Sarah Hughes;
Cast: Sharon Horgan, Tanya Franks; Rebekah Staton, Cavan Clerkin, David Armand, Di Botcher, Ian Drysdale, Gary Lilburn.

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