September 16, 2008 Jill

I loved Rob Thomas‘ 1989 series, Cupid.  Who didn’t?  Lots of people, I guess.  That’s why it was canceled.  But I loved it.  I love a romantic comedy and I’m a huge Rob Thomas fan.  Hence the excitement at the news that Thomas and ABC are resurrecting the series.  I was even more excited when the script for the new Cupid pilot showed up at my door.

  • Date: March 13, 2008
  • Draft: Fourth Network Draft
  • Acts: 5
  • Pages: 64

Cupid is an interesting choice for the times.  Last season coming off the success of Heroes, the shows all seemed to be superhero series, focused on people with extraordinary powers: Journeyman, Reaper, Chuck, Bionic Woman, Pushing Daisies, etc.  This season’s trend is just a hair away from that, focused more on the people who have to contend with the people with powers and shows that examine how the extraordinary and ordinary co-exist include True Blood, Fringe, Dollhouse and Cupid.

The Cupid premise remains pretty much as it was in the original series, except transported from Chicago to LA.  Dr. Claire Allen is in charge of  a man who’s name might be Trevor Hale but who thinks he’s Cupid, god of love.  Exiled from Mount Olympus by the gods, Cupid cannot get home until he has connected 100 couples.  No hook ups; it has to be true love:

…the kind of love “you’d cross oceans to find.”  They were  very specific on that point.  Romeo and Juliet counts.  Romeo and the coat check girl doesn’t.  Got it?

The story is based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche.  Every week, Claire and Trevor do a Love Boat thing, bringing together a new couple while battling their own growing attraction to each other.

The pilot script is charming but by no means the slam dunk you might hope for.  No surprises, no amazing turns, no out loud laughs or moments breath-taking emotional truth.  Instead, there is straight-ahead solid episodic writing.  Rob Thomas creates great characters and breathes life into them.  He gives them excellent breezy dialogue that is smart, sexy and funny.

My only quibble with the script is the act one set up of the series premise.  It’s in so close on Claire and Cupid/Trevor that we don’t feel the reality of the world around them that forces Trevor into Claire’s care.  Trevor falls into police hands, but his crime isn’t so great that you’d expect him to be committed.  It seems a leap that he gets hospitalized and why in the world does some medical board have the authority to put him under Claire’s control?

But who cares?  We want to see these two together.   And we definitely want to see them battle out the theme of the series.

Love isn’t smart.  Love is retarded.  You wanna drink from that trough?  Take it from me and Captain Kirk — Be bold.

Love at first sight is a myth.  Love is built on a sturdier foundation, Trevor — shared interests, values, aspirations.  Mutual respect, friendship — things you can’t possibly establish in a couple of days, let alone twenty minutes.

No.  Love is heat.  Love is passion, chemistry, sex.

No.  Love is what’s left after the heat and passion fades away.

Thomas has something to say here and the ability to tell a great story.  A lot is going to depend on the chemistry of the cast.  Jeremy Piven was  great as the original Cupid and you can absolutely hear him doing Trevor in this new script.  Alas, he is busy with Entourage.  So his role will be played by Bobby Carravale with Sarah Paulsen of Studio 60 fame playing Claire.

Bottom line?  It may not be love at first sight, but I think Cupid’s going to grow on us.

Comments (5)

  1. M. C. Brennan

    The original show was fantastic. Somewhere in the vaults I’m lucky enough to have a few episodes on VHS and it holds up very well–I’m very eager to see the new version.

  2. admin

    I’d like to see some of the old episodes. I wonder if they’re out on dvd? I’ll have to look into that. I have no info on where they are in production. I just saw the news pieces about the greenlight.

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