Pregnant Pause

NUVO | April 7, 2007
Notes From the Underbelly

Premieres 10 p.m. Thursday


Ever wonder what it would be like if Carrie, Charlotte and Samantha from Sex and the City moved to LA and the first two hopped on the mommy track? Of course you haven't. But ABC's new estrogen-enriched sitcom Notes From the Underbelly answers the question anyway.

When I say estrogen, I mean it's everywhere -- oozing from every character's pores and onto your living room floor. The whole thing is vaguely nauseating, yet I can't trash the show because, unfortunately, its portrayal of self-indulgent, insanely narcissistic expectant parents rings all too true.

Underbelly's central couple, guidance counselor Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt -- think Lisa Kudrow's kid sister) and landscape architect Andrew (Peter Cambor, who has the exact same voice as Homicide's Kyle Secor), decides the time is right to have a baby. Their friends Julie (Melanie Paxson, who has the exact same voice as Megan Mullally) and Eric (Sunkrish Bala) are already expecting. "We're pregnant!" they announce -- and while that's what couples say now, who's this "we?" I'm just askin'.

Anyway, they have another friend, Cooper (Rachael Harris), who's the exact opposite of Julie -- she's a single, anti-marriage, anti-children, boink random men queen bee type. So you have the friends as the figurative angel and devil on Lauren's shoulders, with Lauren in the neurotic middle like lukewarm water and her husband a veritable puddle.

But Notes From the Underbelly does nail the joys and fears of middle-class couples who worry about how much a child costs ($1,056,000, Andrew figures) and what having a baby will do to their sex lives, their looks, their free time and their dreams.

Because it's all about them. At least until the baby comes. And then, they'll act like the only people on earth who've ever had a kid.

If you can stand to be around folks like that, Notes From the Underbelly is endearing and amusing enough. The best laughs come in the third episode, when Julie goes into labor and the characters see the epidural needle.

But if you'd rather stick your arm in a blender than watch Lifestyles of the Upper Middle Class and Pregnant, then run away. Fast.


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