Less than Perfect
Less Than Perfect is an American sitcom created by Terri Minsky and starring Sara Rue and Sherri Shepherd which originally aired on ABC from October 1, 2002, to June 27, 2006. It follows Claude (Rue), who works at a television network named GNB, as well as her friends and colleagues.
|Less Than Perfect|
|Created by||Terri Minsky|
|Theme music composer||Cary R. Beare|
Jason Thomas Gordon
Rich Ragsdale (2002–04)
Scott Clausen (2004-06)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||81 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Nina Wass|
Terri Minsky (2002–03)
Christine Zander (2003–06)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Wass/Stein Productions|
|Distributor||Disney-ABC Domestic Television|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||October 1, 2002 –|
June 27, 2006
Overview and premiseEdit
The show centers on Claude Casey (Sara Rue), a young woman who works at a television network called GNB. Though at first a temp who fills in on other assignments, Claude is hired in the pilot by anchor Will Butler (Eric Roberts) to be his assistant. Claude's fellow co-assistants Lydia Weston (Andrea Parker) and Kipp Steadman (Zachary Levi) are unhappy at Claude's arrival, and do everything they can to make her miserable. Luckily, Claude is able to navigate the workplace with the help of her best friends Ramona Platt (Sherri Shepherd) and Owen Kronsky (Andy Dick), who also work at the network in other departments.
In season two, Will Sasso joined the series as cafeteria head Carl Monari, one of Claude and Owen's friends. Patrick Warburton also recurred in the first half of the season as ladder-climbing news anchor Jeb Denton, who also dates Lydia; Warburton joined the main cast midway through the season.
Much was made at the time of the show's premiere about the central character of the show being a "full figured" woman, and that the title correlated to Claude being "Less Than Perfect." Over the course of the series, Rue lost 30 pounds (14 kg; 2.1 st). She has since become a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and lost a total of 50 pounds (23 kg; 3.6 st). As the series progressed, Rue's figure became less of a focus on the series.
Though it was never a rating juggernaut, Less Than Perfect aired at a time when ABC was seeing a large ratings decline across the network. However, the series received steady, respectable ratings being in the last slot of ABC's Tuesday night sitcom lineup. The overall ratings for season two actually saw an increase from the ratings of season one. However, in its third season, ABC moved the series to its TGIF revival lineup on Friday nights. This led to a major decline in ratings, and put the show at risk for cancellation; VGuide.com featured the show on a list of "Endangered Series." Due to the series being near the threshold for the number of episodes needed for syndication, and the series still earning respectable ratings in the coveted 18–49 demographic, ABC ordered a 13-episode fourth season to air as a midseason replacement.
For the fourth season, the series underwent a retooling that saw the departure of cast member Eric Roberts. Despite the close renewal, the future of the series was not assured. In January 2006, Zachary Levi had said that many of the cast members had moved on after filming the season. In March, Sara Rue was cast in a CBS sitcom pilot Play Nice, starring as a woman who runs a toy company with her brother (the pilot was ultimately not picked up). After almost a year off the air, the series returned on April 18, 2006, in its old Tuesday night timeslot.
After airing only three episodes of the fourth season, ABC cancelled Less Than Perfect after four seasons. The series was actually one of several sitcoms cancelled by the network, as they discontinued both the Tuesday night and Friday night sitcom lineups. ABC initially planned to burn off the remaining nine episodes with fellow cancelled sitcom Rodney, which had ironically taken over its timeslot the season prior. ABC ultimately aired only three more episodes before pulling both series off the schedule.
The show joined Lifetime Television's lineup on June 1, 2009 in syndication. The network aired all 81 episodes, including the eight Season 4 episodes previously not broadcast in the US. But as of 2010, it was no longer on Lifetime's schedule. As of April 2012, Less Than Perfect is part of the lineup of new Canadian network, ABC Spark.
Opening credits and theme songEdit
From the beginning, Less Than Perfect had a simple opening sequence, credits which were played over the opening scene of each episode of season one. However, in season two a new opening sequence, along with a theme song, was introduced. The music for this theme song can be heard briefly in scenes during the show's run. The new opening credits for season two lasted only seven episodes, then reverted to the previous basic credits which lasted until the end of season three. Season four introduced a five-second opening, in which the title can be seen on post-it notes on an office desk, while a brief instrumental version of the theme tune is played.
- Sara Rue as Claudia "Claude" Casey, the quirky, sweet lead of the show. From Pittsburgh, Claude works as the executive assistant for GNB anchorman Will Butler. Initially insecure due to her curvy figure, Claude gains confidence in herself as the series progresses.
- Sherri Shepherd as Ramona Platt, a sassy co-worker and friend of Claude and Owen. She is sometimes bossy and obnoxious, but is still a loyal and caring friend. She dislikes both Kipp and Lydia, and
- Andrea Parker as Lydia Weston, one of Claude's "frenemies". She is shallow, snobby and professionally ambitious, and finds Claude's personality to be disgusting. Eventually, she begins a relationship with Jeb Denton, and marries him in the season three finale. In season four, she becomes the producer of Jeb's news series, and hires Claude as her assistant.
- Zachary Levi as Kipp Steadman, Claude's other frenemy and Lydia's friend, who later becomes Jeb Denton's assistant. He is shown to be just as shallow and snobby as Lydia, though is more arrogant and acid-tongued than her.
- Andy Dick as Owen Kronsky, an offbeat, sensitive, and sometimes clumsy office supply manager with GNB.
- Eric Roberts as Will Butler (seasons 1-3), Claude's vain boss, who is a well-known national news anchor. He is a charming womanizer with several ex-wives.
- Will Sasso as Carl Monari (Seasons 2–4; guest star season 1), the cafeteria manager at GNB. He is a good friend of Claude, Ramona, and Owen. He lives across the hall from Claude, and becomes her boyfriend in season four.
- Patrick Warburton as Jeb Denton (Seasons 2-4), Will Butler's co-anchor. He's a mellow, funny, serious, and greedy news anchor, who is trying to climb the ladder at GNB. He is the boss of Kipp and boyfriend (later husband) of Lydia. He rarely refers to Kipp by name, mostly referring to him as "Secretary." His favorite food is Crab Cakes.
- Josh Braaten as Charlie, Claude's boyfriend from the travel department (Seasons 1 & 3)
- William Ragsdale as Mitch Calgrove, a producer at GNB who Claude dates (Season 2)
- John Eric Bentley as an assistant director who later returns as a director (Seasons 1 & 4)
- French Stewart as Gene Schmidtline, an employee at GNB (Seasons 2–3)
- Jenny McCarthy as Dani, Will's on-and-off girlfriend (Season 2)
- Diana-Maria Riva as Vivian, Carl's ex-girlfriend (Seasons 2–3)
- Jonna Tamases as Irene, a co-worker at GNB who offers Claude a job (Season 4)
- Martin Mull as Buddy Casey, Claude's dad (Season 1)
- Cindy Williams as Joan Casey, Claude's mom (Season 1)
- Joanna Cassidy as Norma (Season 1)
- Michael Boatman as Ted Elliot, a director who employs Claude (Seasons 1 & 2)
- Trista Rehn as Herself (Season 1)
- Richard Ruccolo as Bobby Casey, Claude's brother (Season 1)
- Barry Bostwick as Max Damarius (Season 1)
- Nicole Sullivan as Deirdre Bishop, Owen's love interest (Season 1)
- George Wyner as Alan Turnbach, head of GNB news (Seasons 1 & 4)
- Randee Heller as Mrs. Ross (season 2)
- Gordon Clapp as Detective Martin (Season 2)
- Pamela Anderson as Vicki Devorski (Season 2)
- Bill Walton as Himself (Season 2)
- Joanna Kerns and Valerie Harper as Judy and Judith, Owen's lesbian mothers. (Seasons 2 & 3)
- Michael Angarano as George Denton, Jeb's son (Seasons 2 & 3)
- Lesley Ann Warren as Diane Steadman, Kipp's mom (Season 2)
- Brooke Burke as Nurse Benson (Season 2)
- James Belushi as sandwich vendor Eddie Smirkoff (Season 2)
- John McEnroe as Himself (Season 2)
- Tori Spelling as Roxanne Fiedler, Claude's childhood best friend. (Season 2)
- Lucy Lawless as Tracy Fletcher (Season 3)
- Richard Kind as Lance Corcoran (Season 3)
- John Di Maggio as Bartender (Season 3)
- David Cassidy as Vince (Season 3)
- Paula Abdul as Kathleen (Season 3)
- Kimberly Williams as Laura (Season 3)
- Regis Philbin as Xin Xao Pi (Season 3)
- Joan Rivers as Louise (Season 3)
- Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson & Michael Moloney as themselves, as the cast of Extreme Makeover (Season 3)
- Star Jones as Dr Curtis (Season 3)
- Christopher Knight as Waiter (Season 3)
- Tony Plana as The Owl Inspector (Season 4)
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||October 1, 2002||May 20, 2003|
|2||24||September 23, 2003||May 18, 2004|
|3||22||September 24, 2004||April 15, 2005|
|4||13||April 18, 2006||June 24, 2009|
Less Than Perfect was seen on ATV in Austria, on Nelonen in Finland, on FOX8 (pay TV) and the Seven Network (free to air) in Australia, on MTV Russia in Russia, on Star World for the rest of Asia, on yesSTARS in Israel, on Cuatro in Spain, on Sky Italia's Fox and MTV Italia in Italy, on Kanal 5 in Denmark, on HRT and Fox Life in Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Poland and Bulgaria, on TV-First in Belarus. The first seven episodes and episode nine of the final season of Less Than Perfect aired on TV2 in New Zealand, with the remaining episodes (eight and 10 through 13) not played. The show also aired on MBC 4 to Arabic speaking viewers. In Turkey, TNT Turkey airs. And ComedyMax currently airs the show for Digiturk subscribers and Comedy Smart airs for D-Smart subscribers. The show has previously been aired on RTÉ TWO in Ireland and on Comedy Central in the UK and Ireland, although it is not currently being shown on either of these two networks. As of April 2013, ABC Spark in Canada are broadcasting the show in quadruple bills, twice daily. Lifetime also reran the show for a brief period in 2009.
|Season 1||22||September 7, 2010|
Early reviews for the show found the characterization generally stereotypical, but critics often praised the performance of Sara Rue. USA Today asserted that "in just two episodes, the good guys/bad guys structure and the exaggerated characterizations already are showing signs of wear," although it called Rue a "welcome addition" to TV sitcoms. People magazine likewise criticized the stereotypical characters, but summarized the show as "Hardly perfect but happily Rueful." However, by Season 3, USA Today said the show had "hit its stride."
|Season||Episodes||Timeslot (EDT)||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV season||Rank||Viewers |
|1||22||Tuesday 9:30 PM||October 1, 2002||May 20, 2003||2002–03||85||8.10|
|2||24||September 23, 2003||May 18, 2004||2003–04||66||8.80|
|3||22||Friday 9:30 PM||September 24, 2004||April 15, 2005||2004–05||94||6.20|
|4||13 (7 unaired)||Tuesday 9:30 PM||April 18, 2006||June 27, 2006||2005–06||115||4.90|
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- "2003–2004 TV Ratings Archived May 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved July 29, 2008.
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