"The Guide" synopsis:
"The Guide" was a potential sitcom for ABC for fall 1999. The pilot was filmed but never made it onto the schedule.
Jack Ballentine (Michael Vartan) is a film student who shows up at a restaurant for a blind date. When he sees Jill McKee (Christine Taylor) walk in, he hopes that she's his date, but she's there to meet her boyfriend, Evan, and break up with him. His actual date is Linda, a total freakazoid who's like "an episode of ER." He excuses himself from dinner to go call his friend Sam, who set up the blind date, and yell at him. Jill is having problems breaking up with Evan, so she goes to call her friend, Sheila, for support. She doesn't have any change, so she borrows a quarter from Jack. Sparks fly when their fingers touch, and they proceed to eye each other and flirt while they carry on their phone calls. After their calls end, it looks as if they'll strike up a real conversation, but Linda comes to retrieve Jack, and the moment is lost.
They can't forget each other, though. Jill confides in Sheila and two other friends about the cute guy at the phone -- and about her failure to break up with Evan. Jack tells Sam that he's determined to find the girl from the phone, but he's hampered by the fact that he didn't get her name.
Fate steps in at the mall food court. Jill is trying again to break up with Evan, and Jack and Sam are there to see a movie. Jack sees her and is determined to talk to her, but he just got done playing hockey (of course, LOL!), so he's worried he's all sweaty and smelly. He forces Sam to go with him to the bathroom to exchange shirts. Meanwhile, Evan -- who misinterprets Jill's breakup overtures as encouragement to move in together -- accidentally spills a soda on Jill's shirt. When she goes to clean it off, the women's room is closed for repairs. She meets Sam coming out of the men's room, and he tells her to go right in because it's empty.
But, of course, Jack is in there, pumping himself up. They're thrilled that they ran into each other again, and this time they manage to introduce themselves. Jack asks her out on a date, and she agrees. He puts his (Sam's) shirt on, but he puts it on inside out. As she's helping him take it back off, Evan walks in.
The next day, Jill is fretting because Jack hasn't called yet. Jack wants to call her, but Sam tells him it's too soon and he'll seem desperate. Sheila wants to take Jill out to keep her from waiting for the phone to ring. Evan shows up as they're leaving and tells Jill that he forgives her for hooking up with a guy in the men's room and wants to work things out. Jack calls and asks Jill to meet him at the restaurant "with the phones." She agrees.
They meet at the restaurant, and things are going well until they run into Linda at the bar. She's furious at Jack because he said he'd call her and didn't. She throws her drink on him. Jill is amused.
Jack escorts Jill to her front door after their date. They are unsure if they should they kiss, hug or what. They settle for a handshake -- and end up in bed together. After some awkwardness, since they rushed things so much, they settle down and start getting to know each other better as they embark on a relationship.
And then Evan shows up to show Jill that he can be spontaneous.
"The Guide" is relentlessly cute. It's total fluff and downright adorable. Michael Vartan and Christine Taylor are cute as a button together. It's pretty standard sitcom stuff, but "The Guide" never fails to make me smile and giggle. There are some honestly funny lines, and the characters are engaging, even the stock "wacky best friends." The laugh track is too over-the-top, and the snarky voiceover narration by Dennis Miller as "The Guide" (a best-selling relationship manual) doesn't really fit the sunny and breezy mood of the rest of the material.
But how can you complain too much about anything when MV spends almost the whole of the pilot either: 1) in a leather jacket, 2) shirtless or 3) in a hockey jersey? That is good television.
ABC put three new sitcoms on its schedule that fall instead of "The Guide": "Oh, Grow Up," "Then Came You" and "Odd Man Out." Don't remember any of them? Yeah, neither do I. "The Guide" certainly couldn't have done worse than any of the rest of ABC's new fall shows that year -- none of them lasted more than a season. (Their new dramas that fall were "Snoops" and "Wasteland.") Typical ABC decision-making!
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