Just Shoot Me!: The Complete Series DVD Review: A Classic Sitcom That Should Be Known As One of the Greats

Even 20 years later from the airing of the first episode, this show holds up.
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Releasing today by Shout! Factory, Just Shoot Me! is a television series that ran for seven seasons on NBC from March 4, 1997 until its series finale on August 16, 2003. The show was based around a fictional fashion magazine called Blush, much like Vogue or Cosmopolitan.

The story begins when Maya Gallo (Laura San Giacomo) is fired from her job as a television editor when she decides to get back at a snotty reporter by replacing her teleprompter script with some inappropriate dialogue. With her rent due and no other employment offers, she decides to turn to her estranged father, Jack (George Segal), who runs an extremely popular magazine. At first hesitant to work full-time for her father, her sense of wanting to be closer to him wins out. The introduction of Jack’s daughter causes a lot of confusion and chaos for his closest subordinates who have no idea how this new change will affect them.

Along with Jack and Maya, there are three other members that round out the main cast. Nina Van Horn (Wendie Malick) is an older fashion model who is slightly past her prime but still behaves like she is in her twenties living out her wild party life. Elliot DiMauro (Enrico Colantoni) is the magazine’s expert photographer who spends as much time seducing models as he does shooting them. And finally, Dennis Finch (David Spade), who is Jack’s personal assistant and a nerdy, conniving, schemer.

The video quality of this release is of the same quality as today’s television except for the first few seasons which look to have been recorded in the typical square video format of the past and stretched to fit today’s widescreen televisions. The DVDs contain all 148 episodes from seven seasons, including three episodes that never aired, “Evaluate This!”, “The Goodbye Girl”, and “Strange Bedfellows”. There are three special features also included.

“Always in Fashion: A Conversation with Creator Steven Levitan and The Cast of Just Shoot Me!” is the cast individually discussing their time on the show and what made it special.  “The Blush Covers Photo Gallery” is an assortment of pictures from the magazine cover photos that appear between scenes with article topics that relate to the upcoming scene.  Audio Commentaries on the Episodes “Back Issues”, “Lemon Wacky Hello”, “King Lear Jet”, And “My Dinner With Woody”.

Just Shoot Me! is a classic comedy that had it been released during a slightly different time period would be known as one of television’s best. Unfortunately, it fell in the same era when Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier, and Will & Grace were all hitting their strides and got lost in the shuffle. Being bounced around with no regular time slot, the show did surprisingly well in the ratings and only fell apart during the last season when the showrunners left and the network randomly aired episodes on different nights and with huge gaps in between.

Most of the show’s comedy comes from the interplay of the main characters. There are constant jokes at one another’s expense, tricks being played, and situational mix-ups. As the show progresses and the seasons continue, more and more celebrities stop by for a cameo such as Brooke Shields, Snoop Dogg, Dana Carvey, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hugh Hefner, Jenny McCarthy, Tiffany Amber Thiessen, Ray Liotta, Huey Lewis, Rebecca Romijn, and David Hasselhoff. During Seasons Five and Six, it’s difficult to find an episode without a celebrity involved. The best episode of those with celebrities is “The List” where Jack is worried about not making the Power 100 List while Finch meets Mark Hamill in a restaurant and the actor decides they will become best friends and follows him everywhere.

But it’s not all about the celebrities. The best episodes come from the five co-workers as they play pranks or jokes on one another. In “War & Sleaze”, Jack forces Finch to play on the magazine’s paintball team, but immediately realizes it’s a mistake when Finch panics and shoots him. It isn’t until he saves Jack from an exploding soda that he redeems himself in a classic war-time homage. “Two Girls For Every Boy” has Finch setting up an unknowing Maya on a date with a female model who has a crush on her, while he leaps through crazy hoops to make it happen and receives help from every man in the city to accomplish it. In “Toy Story”, Finch switches the tags on Elliot’s birthday gifts making him think that Maya has given him a box of sex toys. “The First Thanksgiving” has the gang at Thanksgiving dinner where Jack and Elliott’s mother become a little too friendly.

Even 20 years later from the airing of the first episode, this show holds up. The jokes are just as funny and the interaction of the main characters just as fresh as if it were written today but probably much more difficult to air as some of the topics are not quite as P.C. as today’s times dictate. It’s not often that a sitcom can constantly entice laughter from its audience throughout each episode, but Don’t Shoot Me! is one of those classics and deserves to be remembered as such.

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