It was a real treat getting this set in the mail, and then spending the day taking a nostalgic trip with one of my favorite 90s sitcoms. Just Shoot Me chronicles the everyday happenings in the offices of a popular fashion magazine. Hard-nosed feminist Maya Gallo (Laura San Giacomo) goes to work for her father, Jack (George Segal) alongside fashion editor Nina (Wendie Malick), photographer Elliot (Enrico Colantoni), and of course Jack’s executive assistant Dennis (David Spade).
After being off the air for a decade, the comedy here is exceptionally well crafted. It’s a fairly straight forward sitcom structure, with comically opposing characters, but the jokes are fine-tuned to achieve maximum comedy. It reminds me of The Big Bang Theory today, where the characters don’t grow or change much, but it’s still infinitely entertaining.
That being said, I don’t often get the chance to analyze Just Shoot Me, and revisiting it now, I do have one massive complaint about the series. Our main character, Maya, is terrible. Granted, she gets better as the second season matures, but for a long time, she is a gigantic hypocrite. On a weekly basis, she establishes some deep-seeded value that cannot be shifted under any circumstances. Then five minutes later she throws that out the window to be a selfish monster. It gets really tiring, and thankfully they abandon that to let Maya be as episodic and situational as the rest of the characters; getting down to what everyone does best: telling jokes.
My other big criticism of this release is the DVD case itself. I’ve taken on other Mills Creek releases, and the presentation of their sets never quite makes sense to me. The complete series set of Grounded for Life came with each disc individually packaged in a paper sleeve and then clipped in a stack into the case. This set isn’t quite as strange, but the three discs are stacked on top of each other so you can’t get disc 3 without removing discs 1 and 2.
The entire cast is great, with David Spade standing out with exceptional timing and a cool, dry wit. It’s also great how the series isn’t afraid to play with format. In one episode, Maya meets a Woody Allen impersonator, and the episode overall takes on a lot of common elements from Woody Allen’s movies (the black and white opening credits, the breaking of the fourth wall, and the trademark Woody Allen one liners).
All in all, the show turned out quality entertainment for its entire run. Plus, it was a pleasant surprise to see Pamela Fryman’s name pop up regularly as a director on the series. She has also directed about 190 of How I Met Your Mother’s 200 episodes, and is great at giving the comedy a physicality that’s appropriate to the aesthetic of the series.
Available now on DVD from Mills Creek Entertainment.