I said this in my review for the DVD of the British series "Worst Week of My Life": "I'm surprised that this hasn't been remade in the US." Sure enough, it was in the midst of being developed. The series in the US is simply called "Worst Week", and focuses on Sam (Kyle Bornheimer) who has recently gotten married to Melanie (Erinn Hayes), and they are going to start a family.
He hasn't told any of this to her upper-crust parents, Angela (Nancy Lenehan) and Dick (Kurtwood Smith, doing a refined version of his Red Foreman character from "That 70's Show"), though. Unfortunately for Sam, he is incapable of actually fixing anything without screwing things up further. Sure enough, over the next week (hence the title of the series, which follows the terrible, horrible week)
Sam will proceed to screw things up between himself and his new parents-in-law far beyond what one might have thought was humanly possible. He's already previously caused damage to their house, and he starts the visit off by taking a leak in the dinner pot. Remarkably, things get worse equal to how much harder Sam tries to fix things.
The show has to walk a difficult balance between Sam being an utter klutz who's responsible for his emotional and physical destruction and just purely being unlucky. Given that the series was obviously not going to last long (it's called "Worst Week" - how many "Worst Weeks" can the main character have), they should have really pushed the envelope towards the end, revealing that Sam had entered some kind of "Groundhog Day"-style hell of screw-ups.
With executive producers Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman ("Family Guy" and "Scrubs", two shows known for their surreal gags) behind-the-scenes, I'm surprised that they didn't take the series in a more abstract direction (at least it would have gotten further away from the original and provided some sort of backing for Sam's impressive ability to do the wrong thing in social situations.)
While moments of the series veer into ridiculousness, the series manages to work reasonably well thanks to Bornheimer's enjoyable performance, portraying Sam as a very nice guy with the best of intentions who is so eager to please others that he trips over himself. It's a likable performance that manages to make the character at least mostly sympathetic. Hayes also offers an enjoyable performance, standing by her husband. As much as one can accuse of Smith of having an easy time playing this character - there are few actors who can play the irritated father as memorably as he does.
As I noted with the British version of the series, this could have easily descended into a sitcom version of "Meet the Parents". While the Brit version of the series was smart and dry, the US version is a little more slapsticky, yet manages to get some unexpected laughs thanks to fine performances and solid writing. This certainly isn't a series without flaws - the concept does start to get tired in the second half of the season (the series couldn't have really gone any longer; the British version only lasted 14 episodes) - but it's better than I'd have expected for a US remake.
1. 1- 1 22 Sep 08 Pilot
2. 1- 2 29 Sep 08 The Bird
3. 1- 3 6 Oct 08 The Monitor
4. 1- 4 13 Oct 08 The Truck
5. 1- 5 20 Oct 08 The Club
6. 1- 6 3 Nov 08 The Ring
7. 1- 7 10 Nov 08 The Vows
8. 1- 8 17 Nov 08 The Cake
9. 1- 9 24 Nov 08 The Wedding
10. 1-10 8 Dec 08 The Apartment
11. 1-11 15 Dec 08 The Gift
12. 1-12 12 Jan 09 The Article
13. 1-13 19 Jan 09 The Puppy
14. 1-14 2 Feb 09 The Sex
15. 1-15 16 Feb 09 The Epidural
16. 1-16 6 Jun 09 The Party
VIDEO: "Worst Week" is presented by Universal in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is an excellent presentation of a TV series, as the show remained bright and detailed throughout the running time. Sharpness and detail are consistently satisfactory, with only a few minor dimly-lit scenes appearing softer than the rest. No edge enhancement, pixelation or damage to the elements are seen. The show's lovely, warm color palette looked well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, a very nice presentation of the series.
SOUND: The show is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. However, as one might expect from a comedy like this, surround use is minimal at best. The majority of the audio is dialogue-driven, and audio quality is satisfactory: dialogue remains well-recorded and clear, while the light score remains clean and full.
EXTRAS: Exec producer Matt Tarses and actor Kyle Bornheimer offer a commentary for the pilot episode. The commentary offers up some decent laughs as the two make a few cracks about behind-the-scenes stories, but a lot of it is a fairly straightforward discussion of aspects such as variations between the original and the remake, casting/working with the other actors, music and more.
Final Thoughts: Funny but probably destined to be a one-season wonder, "Worst Week" may start to get repetitive as it goes on, but it never wears out its welcome entirely thanks to fine writing and a solid ensemble cast. The DVD offers very good audio/video quality, as well as one extra. A moderate recommendation.