Review: Samantha Who? 2×1

Sam I am

Samantha Who

In the US: Mondays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC
In the UK: E4?

Samantha Who? was one of those show that came out last year, that wasn’t bad but which I didn’t think I’d stick around for. But my wife started watching it on E4 a few weeks ago and thanks to a realisation that Christina Applegate is one of the best comedic actresses on TV at the moment, we ended up watching the whole first season. And it wasn’t bad and it was quite funny.

Applegate plays Samantha Newly (there’s a clue in that name) who wakes up after a car accident with amnesia. She can’t remember any of her old life and discovers, much to her horror, that she was an evil bitch – which is something she no longer wants to be. Sam (I am) tries to build a new, nicer life, with the help of her formerly estranged parents, her best friends and her ex-boyfriend.

Most of the fun comes from the evil old Sam and the fact all the people who knew her can now tell her what they really thought about her. But new Sam is entertaining in her own right, as are the supporting characters – mainly Sam’s mother (Jean Smart) and her party-girl attorney best friend (Jennifer Esposito).

The second season is set a year after the first which is all a bit confusing since everything seems to have gone backwards – in fact, there’s more than a hint of déjà vu here…

Despite the leap of nearly a year since the last season, much seems the same. Sam’s still unemployed (how’s she paying for the mortgage on her apartment again?), Todd’s still living in her apartment, Sam’s still living with her parents, Sam and Todd aren’t dating despite apparently trying to again at the end of the last episode.

But now Sam’s moving back in and Todd’s moving out. Except they aren’t. Which keeps the format static but does seem odd and dull. One of the joys of the first season was the slow progression in the relationship between Todd and Sam. That’s all fallen by the wayside, although there are hints that they’re going to revive the relationship later on.

Instead, most of the episode is about dancing, with Sam, once a fantastic dancer, now realising she’s hopeless at it. It’s all a bit Bridget Jones but funny, thanks to Applegate and the Emmy-winning Smart.

The jokes aren’t quite as thick as they were and there’s a slight regression to standard US comedy tactics (single women really must be looking for a man, deep down, for fear they’ll turn into cat people). But there are some laugh out loud moments.

Newbies can wade right in without much difficulty (all you’ll need is this review); old viewers will be pleased to see all the old cast back but might be a little disappointed – but only a little.

Here’s a sneak peak.


  • 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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