Is it possible to change yourself without losing your identity in the process? That’s part of the premise behind the new CBS show “Made in Jersey,” which had some rather disappointing results for everyone involved from start to finish.
“Made in Jersey” followed Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery) as she navigated through the murky waters of a high powered New York law firm that she has worked with for a few weeks. She used her street smarts to get a job as a first year associate in the firm, which happened to impress her boss Donovan Stark (Kyle MacLachlan). He gave her the opportunity to work on her first murder case, but it was only in a supporting role. Martina had to endure some major hurdles to be taken seriously as a rival (Stephanie March) mocked her at every turn. Luckily, she had the support of her friend Cyndi Vega (Toni Trucks) who worked at the firm as a secretary. Martina also relied heavily on an investigator named Riv (Felix Solis) to help get any evidence she needed to get her clients acquitted. Will Martina be able to make her it work at her firm without losing her Jersey girl smarts?
Of course, the answer to the question will be a resounding yes because Martina will continue to prove herself each week, even when she has made some grave errors. The real question was whether viewers should stick around past the first episode. Sadly, the answer wasn’t a favorable one, because “Made in Jersey” suffered from numerous plot cliches. The biggest offense was that the show tended to take itself too seriously, which ended up making it unintentionally funny at times for the wrong reasons. In the first few minutes of the premiere, Martina made her background clearly known in such a cringeworthy way that viewers were laughing for the wrong reasons. The show was angling for Martina to be more charming, but she instead came across as a version of Fran Drescher’s “The Nanny” that included a shrill accent. Hopefully, the show will try to find a balance between Martina’s family life and her career.
Unfortunately, the show suffered from a major casting error when it chose Montgomery as Martina. She was better suited to play criminals like she did on Fox’s “Human Target” where she was able to do more in a supporting role than a lead on this show. Montgomery had a flare for comedy, but she hasn’t had the chance to demonstrate it yet. As Martina, Montgomery is simply forced to act as a Jersey girl who loved her family, but she still wanted to distance herself from them as well. If Martina was written to be more than a mere stereotype, Montgomery would have a chance to truly shine. The premiere’s only redeeming quality was that it allowed March to be the only source of humor as her character was the only one in on the show’s inside joke. She was able to poke fun at everything, which made viewers wonder why March didn’t have her own show instead. Let’s hope that CBS will give March that opportunity if “Made in Jersey” failed to last past its first season.
“Made in Jersey” premiered on September 28th and airs Fridays at 9:00 PM on CBS.
Verdict: A routine procedural show that failed to ignited based on one too many plot cliches.
TV Score: 1 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)