Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Necessary Roughness

Last week I was pretty tough on the new USA legal drama Suits, and the network's latest new drama Necessary Roughness gets back to what makes USA shows appealing: It's kind of forgettable and not exactly innovative, but it's likable enough to be able to watch on a casual basis, perfect laundry-folding or dish-washing TV. I doubt I'll deliberately tune in again, but I could watch it randomly a week or a month from now and have a perfectly good time.

It's also a slight change of pace for USA, since it features a psychotherapist rather than a lawyer or cop or doctor as its main character. Callie Thorne plays Dr. Dani, as she's known, who in the first episode is recruited as the therapist for a big-shot loose-cannon football star. She helps him out and is offered the chance to act as the team's go-to therapist, although press materials indicate she'll also start treating other high-profile clients (actors, politicians, etc.). I'm not entirely sure how that will work, since the regular supporting cast is focused around the football team, but since therapists tend to see clients regularly, presumably characters will stick around rather than being a "case of the week."

Thorne is appealing as the somewhat cliched character of the therapist who can't get a handle on her own problems, and the pilot does a good job of balancing the character development with the plot of the week (something that Suits failed to do). Therapy is less obviously results- and process-oriented than medical treatment or legal work, and the show has a tough time showing how exactly Dani helps her client address his problems. But Roughness breezes along amiably enough, and Dani's interactions with her teenage kids, her gambling-addicted mother, her asshole ex-husband (go-to asshole actor Craig Bierko) and her ditzy best friend (Amanda Detmer) are all enjoyable to watch and full of potential. I probably won't be watching Necessary Roughness again anytime soon, but for fans of the kind of show that USA puts out, this is a much safer bet than Suits.

Premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on USA.

No comments: