comedy / Have Cheetah,Will View / Life / Mill Creek Entertainment / Romance / Sony Pictures / TV series

Have Cheetah,Will View #350 – “10 Items Or Less” Seasons 1 & 2 (2006)

Its 1:03 pm
sunny

I have written plenty about the movies I have found while shopping the Dollar Tree sales. But there is something relatively new that has been popping up and that is seeing boxed sets of TV series in the sales bin. Those of you who collect your favorite TV know exactly how expensive those sets can be brand new.
When my pal Catfish and I went to Walmart a while ago,we saw that the first season of “Daredevil” that had aired on Netflix had hit the home market,we were both excited to see this but when we saw the series of 13 eposodes was 32.00 bucks,well we weren’t so excited.
This is why seeing small short run series suddenly pop up at Dollar Tree,folks were grabbing them up and yep,that included me grabbing a show I had never heard of in “10 Items or Less”.

 

“10 Items” was a series that aired on TBS back in 2006. The premise was interesting,set in a indie grocery store in Ohio called the Greens and Grains,the store has been run by the Poole family for 150 years.

103
Leslie Poole (John Lehr) moves back home to take the Greens and Grains when his father dies at the store. While its clear Leslie is clueless and  out of his comfort zone,he still bravely charges forward in keep the Greens and Grains going. Lucky for Leslie,he has a group of lovable misfits to help him led by the store’s handyman Carl (Bob Clendenin) who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Bob happens to be in love and the father of Yolonda’s (Roberta Valderrama) son when they had a sexual fling at a company picnic. Yolonda,who is from Puerto Rico,runs the produce section. Richard (Christopher Liam Moore) is the slightly wound up gay cashier who dreams of being a professional skater and Buck (Greg Davis,Jr.) is Richard’s bagger. Buck is currently studying at night to become a doctor. Richard and Buck have the most normal friendship in the store.

104
The customer service desk is run by Ingrid (Kirsten Gronfield) who has a secret and lastly,the store’s Romeo in Todd the butcher (Chris Payne Gilbert).  It also had a “arch-enemy” in Amy Anderson (Jennifer Elise Cox) who runs the Super Value Mart (Walmart) across the way. It doesn’t help that Leslie still has a crush on Amy from high school….

tbs_32-john-hdsht 026
What made “10 Items” so quirky was the fact it was strictly an improv show,there were no scripts given to the cast. Lehr,(who helped create the show) along with his co-producers Robert Stark Hickey and Nancy Hower (who directed all 21 episodes of the series) did write a detailed script but the actors only got a basic outline of that week’s story and they had to improv from there. According to Lehr,while the show was cut down to a regular 20-22 minute episode,each show was cut down from 30 HOURS of filming! Can you even imagine being the editor for “10 Items”??
I’ll be honest,while this little show had a lot of heart,I can’t get over at how much work must have went into it. With the format being what it was,the seasons were extremely short even by basic cable standards. The first season in 2006 was only five episodes and the second season,which up in 2007,ran only eight.

102
But was “10 Items” just too strange for its own good? While I think the concept looked good on paper and in the pitch to Sony Television and the cast was bright and hard working,the choice to do 100% improv doomed the show. Many of you know I absolutely love “Scrubs” and while Bill Lawrence has gone on record saying he loves good improv,you can see where script and improv blended together the stories and helped give the show a structure. If you’re doing a sketch show like “Saturday Night Live” then improv works. But without a foundation,too much depends on what the cast would be bring on “10 Items” and it was wildly uneven.One show could be funny in places and then cut to another scene and it died.
I do like the show was always pretty chirpy and happy,this was a comedy and it was proud of that fact and after watching “Scrubs” and “How I Met Your Mother”,it was a welcome blast of fresh air to sit back and expect no heavy drama…it didn’t always work but the cast,led by Lehr,kept on trying!!

106

There were some standout episodes that were funnier then others and working in a big grocery store for several years,I can tell you,we did have a lot of crazy characters working there.

My favorite episode from season one was “The Miracle Worker”. When a stain appears on a wall that looks like Jesus,Leslie decides to take full advantage of it causing both outrage and drawing customers with some seriously good sales. This draws the ire of Amy Anderson when Leslie puts flyers on Super Value Mart’s parking lot.

The second season saw a LOT of romance in the air as the crew of the Greens and Grains get to know other a lot better in unexpected ways. This actually produced the two best episodes of season two.
In “Forever Young”,after Buck shows up to work hung over and late,Leslie suspects he has a drinking problem and rallies to the team to help Buck. But when Leslie founds out the truth,that Buck hooked up with Amy on a one stand,he wants Buck to take him out the clubs.
While season one hinted at a possible romance between Todd and Ingrid,in season two that was pretty much forgotten. In “The First”  Ingrid reveals she is a virgin and she has decided that she wants Leslie to be “The One”. But when Leslie can’t close the deal,he suspects he is gay and turns to Richard for guidence.
tbs_32-john-hdsht 026
The strongest part of the show was the cast,when I first watched this series,I knew no one in it. But when I went back and looked again,I still only knew one face and that was Bob Clendenin and that was because he was on “Scrubs” and then a film Zach Braff did called “Wish I Was Here”.
All of them had their moments to shine,that is one positive aspect about a improv show,there isn’t any one main star,its a total team effort and you have to be fast on your creative feet!

While the DVD set I picked up has the first two seasons,Sony did release the entire series in a boxed set and you can get it on Amazon.  The first two seasons has 13 episodes and extras include a “Behind-the-Scenes” look,casting notes and a pair of viral clips that damn funny.

If you enjoy taking a chance on something new or like short run series (yes,that is a thing) then the cheetah and I recommend “10 Items Or Less”.

Feel free to drop a comment!

11 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #350 – “10 Items Or Less” Seasons 1 & 2 (2006)

  1. 10 Items or Less sounds like something I might like. I like TV shows that look improvisational but are not. (At least not purely improvisational.) Shows like Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Reno 911, Fernwood 2 Nite, etc,…That being so, I didn’t like Scrubs…But it was strictly personal. Objectively, Scrubs was well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 100% improv. My God. That would be an artistic/creative dream come true for actors but I can see how it could lead to editing nightmares later. That’s too bad. I’ve never heard of that show.

    We used to watch Scrubs too. One of my favorite scenes ever: when the sort of Protestant-type older couple are in a room receiving I guess not-so-good news about the husband’s health as he lies in the bed, the very neat and self-contained wife standing beside him gives a little gasp under her breath and the husband turns to her and says (sic) “No hysterics, please” or something like that, lol !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes…..Barry Bostick,who did “Spin City” which was also a Bill Lawrence show…he played a man with prostrate cancer. That was a funny episode and as always,one with heart…his chraracter was so scared of losing his one pure connection to his wife and he was willing to wait til the last possible second before getting a needed surgery…
      I thought the Michael J. Fox trio of shows were among the series best…

      Like

  3. Oh, yeah, it WAS Barry Bostick!
    Not sure what you mean about the Michael J. Fox trio of shows…
    I hate to ask but, was he on Scrubbs? ‘Cause I don’t remember…….! Aaaah!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay, yeah, it’s vague but now I’m remembering that. Yeah, yeah. He was REALLY neurotic. I think his health issues were really starting to kick in around then and he was trying to sort of play to them….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember this one. I watched it through Netflix when all you could get was those little red envelopes in the mail. My wife watches a current tv show that reminds me of somewhat. SUPER STORE, or something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s