Review: In Case of Emergency 1×01

In Case of Emergency

In the US: Wednesdays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC

In the UK: Not yet acquired

All of a sudden, there are a lot of “baby-men” dramas around. We started with The Class, in which various former school friends reunite after years of separation and discover that life has taken them in strange directions. But now we have another comedy that looks back nostalgically at High School and the life choices taken afterwards.

In Case of Emergency is also a comedy about losers, of which there are also a lot around (cf Knights of Prosperity). Despite the high aims and achievements of Jason, Harry, Sherman and Kelly at High School, only one of them has done well and that’s all about to end, too.

Plot (taken from a form on the ABC web site, although it’s not as good as I thought it would be, all those years ago)

There’s a question on every job application, every health questionnaire, every insurance form that we’ve all answered a million times — whom to contact in case of emergency? Most of the time we all know the answer. But there are times in all of our lives when the answer isn’t so obvious.

Jason (David Arquette), Harry (Jonathan Silverman), Sherman (Greg Germann) and Kelly (Kelly Hu) are old friends from high school who find themselves at that stage where they realize that their lives didn’t turn out exactly the way they’d planned. Unhappily divorced greeting card writer Harry goes for a relaxing “massage” only to discover his scantily clad “therapist” is Kelly, their high school valedictorian, who’s had her own fall from grace. Diet Guru Sherman returns home to discover his wife has left him and taken everything he owns; devastated by the loss, he hijacks a bakery truck and binges on all its contents. Faced with imprisonment for his role in a corporate scandal, financial whiz Jason botches his suicide attempt only to shoot himself in the foot — literally. Over the course of one crazy evening, a series of calamities reunites this hapless brood at Los Angeles Westside Hospital, where they all find themselves under the care of a reluctant Dr. Joanna (Lori Loughlin). This band of misfits must now start their lives over with the new realization that they’ve only got each other, In Case of Emergency.

Is it any good?

On paper, it should be. Not only does it have a good cast, it also has a good director for its opening episode (Jon Favreau). However, while it has its moments, it’s never actually very funny ?��Ǩ��� unless you happen to be particularly sadistic.

Everyone’s one hardware store short of a suicide attempt.

The problem is that everyone has a bad time of things. Instead of laughing with them, you have to laugh at them. If you enjoy watching people suffering, fine: may I direct you to some nice medical documentaries instead? And while it’s more dramatically realistic to have a bunch of people who didn’t make successes of their lives, some cheeriness in the face of adversity might at least make the show bearable. Instead, everyone’s one hardware store short of a suicide attempt.

At the moment, there’s also little depth to the characters and the few characteristics we have are designed purely to launch attempted jokes, rather than to give them a footing in reality. Harry the healthy-eating guru is naturally going to start eating lard cakes the second things go wrong for him, because that’s his single defining feature.

Still, pilots are here to set up series, so maybe now they’re down on their luck, they’ll get a chance to do things that don’t merely land them in worse luck. However, judging by the web site’s plot synopsis, it seems that contrary to Yazz’s claims, the only way is down for these guys. It might get funnier, but despite being well put together, I’m not expecting this to last very long unless some badger baiters decide they need to have a way to wind down in the evenings.

Here’s a handy YouTube trailer for the show.


David Arquette (Jason Ventress)

Jonathan Silverman (Harry Kennison)

Greg Germann (Sherman Yablonsky)

Kelly Hu (Kelly Lee)

Lori Loughlin (Dr. Joanna)

Jackson Bond (Dylan)

Created by Howard J. Morris

Production of Touchstone Television, Bushwacker Productions and Howard J. Morris Productions.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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