“The Fien Print” Ruminates on CBS’ MADE IN JERSEY

Take Me To The Pilots ’12: CBS’ MADE IN JERSEY – by Daniel Fienberg

The Pitch: “My Cousin Vinnie,” if you got rid of Joe Pesci and it just turned out that Marisa Tomei was a talented lawyer, in addition to being a hilarious ethnic stereotype.

Quick Response: Janet Montgomery *is* a star. I agree with FOX, which brought her in in an unsuccessful attempt to goose ratings for “Human Target” and I agree with CBS, which cast Montgomery in a show called “Made in Jersey,” despite a natural accent that’s distinctly from the wrong side of The Pond. I don’t really know what to make of “Made in Jersey,” unfortunately. CBS has been running trailers which focus more on Fish Out of Water humor than the actual tone of the show, which is closer to a straight-forward character-driven legal procedural with hints of cartoony local color. Montgomery, whose Jersey accent is acceptable, if not flawless, is very good playing a woman who comes off as kinda a Sherlock Holmes for trashy, blue collar details. She’s sexy and straight-forward and Montgomery really isn’t mugging or over-relying on stereotypes. The same cannot be said of Donna Murphy and Erin Cummings as two members of the main character’s Big Stereotypical Italian Family, an element that the producers said at TCA press tour that they intend to play up. Ugh. Bad idea.

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MY COUSIN VINNIE sans Joe Pesci? But…but…but Joe Pesci is MCV. He’s all that film has. OTOH, Marisa Tomei was far more interesting in that than she’s ever been in anything since. Is it because the character was/is inherently awesome? Or because Pesci brought it out of her? Guess we’ll find out when this hits the air.