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Herc’s Seen CBS’
THE EX LIST, Written By
VERONICA MARS Vet
Diane Ruggiero!!

Published at: Oct. 3, 2008, 4:21 a.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!
A fantasy-dramedy from “Veronica Mars” writer-producer Diane Ruggiero, “The Ex List” tells the tale of Bella Bloom, a 33-year-old florist who learns from an unusually credible fortune-teller that if she does not marry her true love in the next year she will never marry at all. Moreover, that true love is someone with whom she’s already been romantically involved. Like HBO’s “In Treatment,” “Ex” is based on a popular Israeli series. Unlike HBO’s “In Treatment,” it stars Elizabeth Reaser and Alexandra Breckenridge, who both sport bikinis successfully. Ruggiero was not “Veronica’s” creator/showrunner (that was “Cupid’s” Rob Thomas) and “The Ex List” is no “Mars.” It is nonetheless one of the season’s more compelling new shows. If you like the pilot, as I kinda did, you should know that Ruggiero has already departed the series over creative differences. Rick Eid, who worked on “Law & Order” and Fox’s short-lived lawyer drama “Conviction,” took over as showrunner following episode six. The better news is CBS, apparently emboldened by the narcotics abuse and orgies over on “Swingtown,” has permitted a non-networky subplot about the grooming of a major character’s lady business. Also, you have to love that the lead character has dated so many fellows over the past two decades that CBS can make a series featuring a different ex every week. Bella likes a good cocktail, and even the psychic is impressed with how much she’s slept around. (Don’t be shocked if Bella suddenly remembers some college-era girl-on-girl action early in the season.) Entertainment Weekly gives it an “B-plus” and says:
… Huge thanks go to Reaser, whose Bella is the kind of woman you don't see much on TV: She's easygoing, reasonable, and funny in a way that's actually funny. This is not a woman who's going to fall over a chair or whine neurotically in a manner that's supposed to be adorable but really is pathetic. No, she's just funny, with the wisecracking gameness of a '30s-era broad (''When did having a vagina become a full-time job?'' she asks an overly bikini-waxed friend). …
The Associated Press says:
… Does anybody learn from past mistakes in love? That's the question "The Ex List" poses. Then, with amusing insight, it seems to conclude: hmmmmm ... unlikely. …
USA Today give it two stars (out of four) and says:
… Ex List hopes to keep our minds off its central conundrum through comedy, some of which works. Reaser hits just the right "why me" notes, particularly in her encounters with her psychic guide, and the show gets an excellent performance from Eric Balfour as the first ex in line, a weepy rocker who tends to cling. Unfortunately, when the show wanders off to the personality-deprived supporting characters, it collapses. …
The New York Times says:
… Television has been infatuated with protracted adolescence for two decades, but here there’s no pretense at masking the fascination. I’m not complaining. “The Ex List” already makes me want to windsurf right past all the dismal entries of the fall season. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… just because something's almost unforgivably cute ("Holy hottie, Batman" is an actual line) doesn't mean it can't also be very good and very funny, which "The Ex List" is. It may be more smile-heh-chuckle funny than belly-laugh funny, but still, it is an oasis in a parched comedic landscape. …
The Chicago Sun-Times says:
… easily the best new comedy of the season so far …
The Washington Post says:
… "The Ex-List" stands an unfortunately good chance of becoming an "ex-series" before very many weeks have passed. Then again, I said that about "The X-Files," too, and it managed to straggle through. … those adventurous souls who do tune in will discover in Reaser an adept, attractive and hugely alluring comic actress. When better roles come along, she will get them. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… a wonderful hourlong romantic dramedy … Ruggiero's stamp is unmistakable. She's manic and funny and hip and sarcastic, and she built "The Ex List" around those intangibles. … Ruggiero delivered, in tonight's pilot, a very funny, completely real and relatable series that was excellently cast and - because she wrote it - dappled with nuances of jadedness, attainable (and tolerable) romance, ripe sarcasm and riff-filled dialogue. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… the show is only interested in younger women, judging by the alleged jokes about the grooming of Bella's friend's private parts. And it's not just one joke, there's running commentary. I wasn't offended -- nor did I find it particularly funny -- but heaven knows plenty of viewers will be put off, so why risk that in the opening hour of what could be a cute show with broad female appeal? The rest of the episode is a bit of a predictable slog as Bella sees signs everywhere and begins dating an emotionally unstable ex she first knew in 2001. There are some amusing bits of dialogue, but none of the show's pieces add up to a cohesive whole. …
The Boston Globe says:
… Think of "The Ex List" as one of those people who try too hard to be instantly liked. It's all up in your face with cuteness and sexual frankness and text-message-y quips about modern life, like an aggressive ad for the latest jeans. … There's probably a good, breezy romantic comedy somewhere inside "The Ex List." But the premiere just made me cranky. …
Variety says:
… there's enough heat to warrant a second date, but not enough sparks to guarantee one. … Dialogue by Diane Ruggiero is sharply written and realistic, observational and unhurried. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… consistently charms straight out of the box, boasting a clever premise … it's sassy, edgy, irreverent and sweet all at once. Lead Reaser has the goods to grow into a genuine breakout if the material proves worthy of her intriguing style. … Ruggiero's opening script is chock full of rich dialogue and pointed zingers that gloriously send up the self-centered age in which we now live. Too, Timothy Busfield's direction is superb, keeping the action fun and flowing. …
9 p.m. Friday. CBS.

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