Let’s Remember is an opportunity for those who watched relatively recent short-lived TV shows, as well as those who didn’t, to share their thoughts and memories, to help ensure that these shows aren’t forgotten. This month’s column examines The Return of Jezebel James (FOX, 2008).
Title: The Return of Jezebel James
Cast: Parker Posey as Sarah Tompkins, Lauren Ambrose as Coco Tompkins, Scott Cohen as Marcus Sonti, Michael Arden as Buddy
Air dates: March 14, 2008 – March 21, 2008
Time slot: Fridays at 8:30PM ET
Episodes: 7 (4 unaired)
From a May 2017 press release (courtesy of the futon critic):
THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (working title) (Wednesdays, 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT): Can two estranged sisters, polar opposites, live together when one agrees to carry the other’s baby? SARAH THOMKINS (Parker Posey, “For Your Consideration,” “Best in Show”) is a bright, optimistic, determined woman who seems to have it all – a great job as a children’s book editor, an eager-to-please assistant, BUDDY (Michael Arden), who helps keep her life together, and a no-strings-attached personal relationship with successful businessman MARCUS SONTI (Scott Cohen, “Kissing Jessica Stein”). Nevertheless, as her father, RONALD (Ron McLarty, “Law & Order”), is constantly pointing out, something is missing from Sarah’s life. Her hard work may garner accolades, but when she goes home at night, she is very much alone. All too aware that she isn’t getting any younger, Sarah decides to have a baby on her own and gets the shock of her life when the doctor tells her she can’t get pregnant. Having no concept of the term “can’t,” Sarah wills herself to execute a plan. With nowhere else to turn, Sarah sets up a meeting with her quirky younger sister, COCO (Lauren Ambrose, “Six Feet Under”), and proposes a plan for Coco to carry her baby. They haven’t seen each other in a while, and Coco refuses to go along with such a huge favor. But something happens when Sarah mentions that she’s turned Coco’s imaginary childhood friend, Jezebel James, into a children’s book. Even though she doesn’t say so out loud, Coco is clearly touched, and, realizing that her current living situation – sharing a couch with her friend’s sick dog – isn’t working out, Coco decides that this just might be worth a try.
-As the official synopsis makes clear, FOX originally planned to air The Return of Jezebel James on Wednesdays from 8:30-9PM ET. The network also announced, then scrapped, a special preview following the March 12th, 2008 episode of American Idol.
-In October 2007, FOX cut the show’s order to seven episodes from the original 13.
-The first two episodes aired back-to-back from 8-9PM ET. The following week, the show moved to its regular 8:30-9PM ET time slot.
-FOX cancelled The Return of Jezebel James just days after the third episode aired.
TV Guide’s Take
As a mid-season replacement, TV Guide never reviewed The Return of Jezebel James for a Fall Preview issue.
Variety – Brian Lowry (3/7/2008)
The Hollywood Reporter – Barry Garron (3/12/2008)
The New York Times – Ginia Bellafante (3/14/2008)
The A.V. Club – Noel Murray (3/14/2008)
The Boston Globe – Matthew Gilbert (3/14/2008)
I don’t remember whether or not the show had a true opening credits sequence. Here’s a 30-second promotional spot from YouTube with the show’s title card:
What do I remember about The Return of Jezebel James? Very little. I know I watched the three episodes FOX aired but don’t recall much other than Parker Posey’s character being quirky and Lauren Ambrose’s character sarcastic.
I also watched the four unaired episodes, although I don’t know where I watched them. Wikipedia claims the unaired episodes debuted on iTunes in May 2008. That may be true but I didn’t buy them on iTunes. The unaired episodes had to have also been available either through the FOX website or Hulu (or both).
Where to Watch
Nowhere. The Return of Jezebel James has never been officially released on DVD and is no longer available for purchase from iTunes. It may have streamed on Amazon Prime Video at some point but is not currently streaming anywhere.
Hit the comments with your thoughts and memories to ensure