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The New CUPID: Love Him. Love Him, Dammit. He’s Lovable.


 

I haven’t made up my mind yet about the new Cupid, but since the original Cupid hasn’t been pulled off YouTube yet, it’s interesting to compare the changes creator/writer Rob Thomas has made to address perceived problems with the original series. Or to put that in a less run-on-sentence-y way: Thomas has tried to identify things that might have caused the original version to bomb, and change those things. One change that Thomas has promised was evident — more time spent on the Special Guest Couple. Much more time. Too much time, really. But there are other differences, especially in the many parts of the two pilots that were similar or identical.

The look of the new show, obviously, is a big change: much lighter and brighter. The original was probably more of a comedy than the remake, but the remake wants to be cute and sweet even when it’s serious; everything about the remake has been lightened up and made more whimsical, including the new version of the love-couple story.

The new show has also been pumped up with more peppy mood music, and is being played more whimsically by the actors. The first interview between Cupid and “Psyche” is virtually the same in both versions, but in the original version, the lighting is dark and gritty, there is no background music, and the actors are playing it almost naturalistically. I prefer the way it was played in 1998, but Thomas and ABC undoubtedly feel that that naturalistic feel was working against them.

The original opened with Paula Marshall (whose legs, I have had occasion to remark before, helped make the show worth watching) getting the call to see this guy who thinks he’s Cupid, and meeting this obnoxious, cocky, slovenly man. The remake adds a prologue that actually gives us Cupid playing Cupid, trying to help someone get the woman he loves. Sure, his wacky scheme goes awry, but he willingly lets himself be arrested to keep the other guy out of trouble.

In the original, when we meet Cupid, he’s kind of horrible and grungy. We see that people like him and think he’s funny, but he’s the sort of person who might or might not have redeeming qualities. In the remake, Dr. Studio 60 first sees Cupid leading a hospital full of people, patients and staff alike, in a rendition of “All You Need Is Love.” He’s not a grungy slob, either. We’re supposed to believe that he’s basically adorable and brings joy into people’s lives, like Kris Kringle in Miracle On 34th Street. (A character, and a movie, that Thomas has cited as an influence on both versions of Cupid, because Kris was a character who might be crazy or might be Santa Claus, and the movie never clearly said that he was one or the other. The other big influence was Moonlighting, and Thomas has kept the original version’s tip of the hat in calling the Special Guest Couple Dave and Madeline.)

You know, the more I compare the two directly, the less kindly-disposed I feel toward the new version; it re-enforces the feeling that it’s left behind some of what made the original version so special. But the original version did bomb, so I can’t really say the changed approach is a bad idea. I’ll have to wait for another episode or two to see how it works out.

Additional point: Is it a jinx when the characters on a show announce that they’re on a mission with a defined end? I’m thinking specifically of Cupid (the original, and possibly the remake too), which defined the character’s mission as 100 couples and therefore 100 episodes, and Star Trek, which announced a five-year mission but was canceled after three. It’s like when the characters tell us in advance that they’re going to last long enough to get to 100 episodes, fate steps in and tells them no.


 
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The New CUPID: Love Him. Love Him, Dammit. He’s Lovable.

  1. “Is it a jinx when the characters on a show announce that they’re on a mission with a defined end?”

    ‘Brimstone’ – Dead detective on a mission to return 113 escaped souls to Hell. Lasted 13 episodes.

    ‘The Ex List’ – Woman has one year to find her soulmate, or she will remain single forever. Lasted 4 episodes.

    ‘The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.’ – Brisco aims to track down the 13 members of John Bly’s gang who killed his father. Lasted one season.

  2. This was my favorite show of all time, In the 90s!!! Just like before, the stupid ABC execs have RUINED it. 10 time slot…(Last time they kept changing the day, none of us that adored the show could find it half the time!!! And the comercials for the show(Int he 90’s) didn’t make any sense, people that didn’t watch the show I’m sure had NO idea what it was about.) The new ACTORS DON’T HOLD A CANDLE to the old Trevor and Claire!!! The chemestry is flatter than my sisters bra. Watching that last night was like watching Jeremy Piven in slow motion, without the persona, lovable character or the believability of a guy who reallly thinks he’s cupid. (Who was THE best guy for the part,by the way. I hate him in that stupid HBO show,CUPID was his best show.)It is SUCH a great idea, the storylines are beautiful, with the right people, it could have been PERFECT. (I know the storylines VERY well, I have watched the show for years, I won’t tell you how. Thank you ABC…you’ve RUINED it… TWICE!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGG
    I am SO pissed off!!!

    • Don’t hold back Heidi, tell us how you really feel! ;)

  3. The original bombed because of it’s time slots, the first Saturday at 10 pm, the second Thursday at 10 pm back when NBC ruled with must see tv. It had nothing to do with quality as it was raved by critics (and us fans). Also, check out new articles of interviews with Thomas, contrary to the first paragraph of this article, he said that he tried not to look at the flaws of the first one and change them. All in all, aren’t we all happy that this story has a second chance though? Hehe. =)

  4. Also, the two new actors can’t even compare to Piven and Marshall, but Bobby is OK and sexy too and charming, but that blonde chick Sarah Paulson has got go. She’s a cold fish and has no appeal or likeability factor to her.

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