One of the most middle class series ever made, the BBC sitcom Miranda saw comedian Miranda Hart deal with her overbearing mother, try to find love, and work in a joke shop. There were lots of jokes about her appearance and how people mistook her for a man, how she wanted to be more feminine, and she fell over a lot, because this was uninspired stuff indeed, though it did see her break the fourth wall a fair bit and so was vaguely, very slightly different from your average comedy.
It doesn’t take a Columbo type detective to tell from the above I wasn’t a fan of the show, as many of the jokes could be seen from miles off, and I struggled with pretty much all of the characters. So news of a US remake starring Mayim Bialik didn’t exactly set my world on fire and have me unable to sleep the night before Call Me Kat aired, but somehow it’s even worse than I feared, a sitcom that manages to be even more irritating than the at best only ever average original.
So, what have they kept you may ask? Well, Kat breaks the fourth wall a lot and is just as annoying as Miranda was, and she has an overbearing mother (Swoosie Kurtz) who is desperate to marry Kat off as quickly as she can and who is also quite irritating. Kat’s also occasionally clumsy, and she fancies an old school friend (Cheyenne Jackson) who works in the establishment next door, but otherwise this is a fair bit different, Kat works in a cat cafe rather than a joke shop, and has two employees, Phil (Leslie Jordan) and Randi (Jyla Pratt), who are all new characters, and plot wise it’s very different too.
On that front, in the first episode of Miranda we saw her go on a date with eventual husband Gary (Lucifer star Tom Ellis), but in this first episode Kat attends a friend’s wedding and pisses her friend off by bringing a friend along. There’s some vague slapstick but it’s nowhere near as over the top and pantomime-esque as that found in the first episode of Miranda, and there’s only a tiny bit of innuendo, and at no point does Kat eat a massive chocolate penis like Miranda did, which is almost a shame as it would have at least livened up this bland nonsense a little bit.
About two thirds of the way through there’s a painful bit of seriousness as Kat confesses to sometimes being lonely while having a heart to heart with Phil, and this type of saccharine nonsense frustratingly isn’t kept to a single scene either as the following scene sees Kat have a heart to heart with her mother, and the dialogue is tediously on the nose, making it clear the kind of show we could expect in the future, and boy is it one I hope I never see another second of.
Mayim Bialik’s a great actress and this is a very different performance to that of Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory, and the rest of the cast are fairly decent too, with it nice to see 30 Rock’s Cheyenne Jackson in a supporting role once again. But as with most bad sitcoms it’s only the lead who gets the majority of funny lines, and everyone else is on hand to either feed her lines she can joke about or get annoyed with her, and both are rarely even slightly amusing
At the end of the episode someone off screen screams shut up at Kat’s singing, echoing the exact same thing that I had shouted at the screen seconds before, though it wasn’t because her vocals were poor, it was just an achingly unfunny moment which I feared might never end otherwise. If you found someone who didn’t know any of the actors you could easily fool them in to thinking that this was a bad sitcom from the 1990s, one which nobody liked and which was cancelled quickly, and I really hope that is its fate as I can’t see this ever becoming anything other than depressingly irritating.