Review: The Wedding Bells

The Wedding Bells

In the US: Fridays, 9/8c, Fox

In the UK: Not yet acquired.

Some of you might be wondering why I never got round to reviewing the first episode of David E Kelley’s new series, The Wedding Bells, which aired last Friday in the US.

It’s cos it’s rubbish. It’s David E Kelley by numbers. Watch Ally McBeal or Boston Legal for a few episodes, imagine what a show by him about wedding planners would be like and you can fill in the blanks yourself. Don’t believe me? Okay, which of David E Kelley’s shows did this line come from: “When men are attracted to women, it’s chemical; with women, it’s cognitive”? Could be any of them, couldn’t it?

Anyway, I tried to sit down and say something about it, but my mind went completely blank, the show is that insipid.


From executive producers David E. Kelley, Jason Katims and Jonathan Pontell comes THE WEDDING BELLS, a romantic dramedy about a family-owned wedding planning business dedicated to helping its clients live happily ever after … or at least until they get to the parking lot.

The BELL sisters, ANNIE BELL (KaDee Strickland), JANE BELL (Teri Polo) and SAMMY BELL (Sarah Jones), inherited The Wedding Palace after their parents’ divorce. Now they must navigate the endless complications of planning elaborate weddings while trying to figure out where they stand in their own complicated love lives.

From dealing with high-maintenance Bridezillas and their families to calming wedding-day jitters, the trio of planners and their loyal staff do their utmost to make sure that every bride’s special day is a dream-come-true, as they attempt to take their burgeoning company from wedding emporium to wedding empire.

Adding to the behind-the-scenes chaos are photographer DAVID CONLON (Michael Landes), whose tension-filled dealings with Annie are clearly the result of pent-up sexual chemistry; and RUSSELL HAWKINS (Benjamin King), Jane’s husband and the company COO.

Russell was hired to attract a higher-end clientele and take the business to the next level while simultaneously cutting costs, which isn’t very easy because the women like to give clients little extras that keep eating up the profits.

Meanwhile, Jane is constantly fending off the advances of their head chef, Ernesto. Then there’s wedding singer RALPH SNOW (Chris Williams), who always aspired to be the next Lenny Kravitz, but instead is stuck crooning endless cover songs and retro medleys for unappreciative wedding guests. AMANDA PONTELL (Missi Pyle) adds to the frenzied scene as a former Bridezilla client who becomes a board member of The Wedding Palace.

Whatever the glitch en route to getting hitched, THE WEDDING BELLS have seen it all. They’ve mastered the art of guiding couples down the aisle, but have they ignored their own personal relationships along the way?

THE WEDDING BELLS is created by David E. Kelley and Jason Katims and is produced by David E. Kelley Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television. David E. Kelley, Jason Katims and Jonathan Pontell are the executive producers.

Is it any good?

Still feeling blank. But no, it isn’t, I remember that much. Maybe hypnosis would help me to recall something interesting that might have happened? Past-life therapy? Something. I feel like I’ve had 60 minutes of my stolen by aliens. They even stole the word life from that last sentence.

I do remember thinking that it does the typical David E Kelley thing of casting a large number of women in central roles then getting much of the script to deal with relationships and stuff in an effort to convince women that the show is a “girl thing”, when actually it’s an evil Backlash-esque instrument for the oppression of women. I do remember a large number of quite good actors – and some really awful ones – being wasted in some thankless roles.

But that’s about it. Of course, since it’s a Friday Fox show, you can probably guess who’s going to be watching and what sort of state they’re going to be in, so expectations shouldn’t be too high. But I’m predicting a pretty speedy demise for this. Assuming Fox’s executives even remember it’s on.

Here’s a stunningly dull promo for it that’s sitting on YouTube. I’ve forgotten most of it already.


Missi Pyle (Amanda Pontell)

Teri Polo (Jane Bell)

Michael Landes (David Conlon)

Sarah Jones (Sammy Bell)

Chris Williams (Ralph Snow)

Benjamin King (Russell Hawkins)

Kadee Strickland (Annie Bell)


  • 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.