‘Miss Guided’: Judy Greer Makes Playing a Quirky Doll Look Good

Miss Guided ran two episodes in what will be its regular timeslot on ABC last night, at 8 and 8:30, after debuting Tuesday after Dancing With The Stars. I didn’t immediately warm up to the show Tuesday, but it had pulled me in before the end of its half hour and I was looking forward to last night’s episodes. 

And here I am now, bright-eyed and scrubbed behind the ears, glad to report that the new show did not disappoint.

Miss Guided has its rough spots, to be sure. The acting is straight up comedic style, very hammy, and takes a while to get used to. The dialogue is made up of quick jokes and one-liners. The whole show seems like something that would be much more at home on a stage than on the screen. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t belong on the screen. It’s not like other network sitcoms out there, and frankly I think that’s a very good thing.

Judy Greer (main character, high school guidance counselor Becky Greely) plays cringe-worthy characters well, without running the risk of having the audience dislike her.  I’m most familiar with her as Kitty from Arrested Development, a show in which every character was awesomely wince-inducing.

Chris Parnell (Vice Principal Bruce Terry) gives his familiar well-timed treatment to the dismal character that was written for him. 

The second episode of the season, last night’s 8 o’clock offering, offered up not one but two guest stars, both campily lampooning their own images. Executive Producer Ashton Kutcher appeared as a hippie heartthrob with feta-level cheesy lines, and played the part to the hilt. His character’s jokes started out too slow for the half hour time limit, but once he got going I thought the premise was a worthy one. I’d say that I’d blame it on the writing and spare the actor, but Kutcher is also billed as a writer.

Meanwhile, we have Jamie Lynn Spears, whose very first scene was played from the passenger seat of a car, wrapped around her on-screen boyfriend. The young actress’ part is an obvious shot at her current teenaged-and-pregnant status, and she played it with a wink and a smile. And good for her. I hope to see more of her.

The show itself is uneven, but I think it’s worth a fourth and fifth look, and it’s definitely a shot in the arm after the arrested development that audiences have been subjected to of late.