|Less Than Perfect|
|Created by||Terri Minsky|
|Theme music composer||Cary R. Beare|
Jason Thomas Gordon
Rich Ragsdale (2002-04)
Scott Clausen (2004-06)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||81|
Terri Minsky (2002-03)
Christine Zander (2003-06)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney-ABC Domestic Television|
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
|Original release||October 1, 2002 -|
June 27, 2006
Less Than Perfect is an American sitcom created by Terri Minsky and starring Sara Rue and Sherri Shepherd which originally aired on ABC from October 1, 2002, to June 27, 2006. It follows Claude (Rue), who works at a television network named GNB, as well as her friends and colleagues.
The show centers on Claude Casey (Sara Rue), a young woman who works at a television network called GNB. Though at first a temp who fills in on other assignments, Claude is hired in the pilot by anchor Will Butler (Eric Roberts) to be his assistant. Claude's fellow co-assistants Lydia Weston (Andrea Parker) and Kipp Steadman (Zachary Levi) are unhappy at Claude's arrival, and do everything they can to make her miserable. Luckily, Claude is able to navigate the workplace with the help of her best friends Ramona Platt (Sherri Shepherd) and Owen Kronsky (Andy Dick), who also work at the network in other departments.
In season two, Will Sasso joined the series as cafeteria head Carl Monari, one of Claude and Owen's friends. Patrick Warburton also recurred in the first half of the season as ladder-climbing news anchor Jeb Denton, who also dates Lydia; Warburton joined the main cast midway through the season.
Much was made at the time of the show's premiere about the central character of the show being a "full figured" woman, and that the title correlated to Claude being "Less Than Perfect." Over the course of the series, Rue lost 30 pounds (14 kg; 2.1 st). She has since become a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and lost a total of 50 pounds (23 kg; 3.6 st). As the series progressed, Rue's figure became less of a focus on the series.
Though it was never a rating juggernaut, Less Than Perfect aired at a time when ABC was seeing a large ratings decline across the network. However, the series received steady, respectable ratings being in the last slot of ABC's Tuesday night sitcom lineup. The overall ratings for season two actually saw an increase from the ratings of season one. However, in its third season, ABC moved the series to its TGIF revival lineup on Friday nights. This led to a major decline in ratings, and put the show at risk for cancellation; VGuide.com featured the show on a list of "Endangered Series." Due to the series being near the threshold for the number of episodes needed for syndication, and the series still earning respectable ratings in the coveted 18-49 demographic, ABC ordered a 13-episode fourth season to air as a midseason replacement.
For the fourth season, the series underwent a retooling that saw the departure of cast member Eric Roberts. Despite the close renewal, the future of the series was not assured. In January 2006, Zachary Levi had said that many of the cast members had moved on after filming the season. In March, Sara Rue was cast in a CBS sitcom pilot Play Nice, starring as a woman who runs a toy company with her brother (the pilot was ultimately not picked up). After almost a year off the air, the series returned on April 18, 2006, in its old Tuesday night timeslot.
After airing only three episodes of the fourth season, ABC cancelled Less Than Perfect after four seasons. The series was actually one of several sitcoms cancelled by the network, as they discontinued both the Tuesday night and Friday night sitcom lineups. ABC initially planned to burn off the remaining nine episodes with fellow cancelled sitcom Rodney, which had ironically taken over its timeslot the season prior. ABC ultimately aired only three more episodes before pulling both series off the schedule.
The show joined Lifetime Television's lineup on June 1, 2009 in syndication. The network aired all 81 episodes, including the eight Season 4 episodes previously not broadcast in the US. But as of 2010, it was no longer on Lifetime's schedule. As of April 2012, Less Than Perfect is part of the lineup of new Canadian network, ABC Spark.
From the beginning, Less Than Perfect had a simple opening sequence, credits which were played over the opening scene of each episode of season one. However, in season two a new opening sequence, along with a theme song, was introduced. The instrumental music for this theme song can be heard briefly in scenes during the show's run. The new opening credits for season two lasted only seven episodes, then reverted to the previous basic credits which lasted until the end of season three. Season four introduced a five-second opening, in which the title can be seen on post-it notes on an office desk, while a brief instrumental version of the theme tune is played.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||October 1, 2002||May 20, 2003|
|2||24||September 23, 2003||May 18, 2004|
|3||22||September 24, 2004||April 15, 2005|
|4||13||April 18, 2006||June 24, 2009|
Less Than Perfect was seen on ATV in Austria, on Nelonen in Finland, on FOX8 (pay TV) and the Seven Network (free to air) in Australia, on MTV Russia in Russia, on Star World for the rest of Asia, on yesSTARS in Israel, on Cuatro in Spain, on Sky Italia's Fox and MTV Italia in Italy, on Kanal 5 in Denmark, on HRT and Fox Life in Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Poland and Bulgaria, on TV-First in Belarus. The first seven episodes and episode nine of the final season of Less Than Perfect aired on TV2 in New Zealand, with the remaining episodes (eight and 10 through 13) not played. The show also aired on MBC 4 to Arabic speaking viewers. In Turkey, TNT Turkey airs. And ComedyMax currently airs the show for Digiturk subscribers and Comedy Smart airs for D-Smart subscribers. The show has previously been aired on RTÉ TWO in Ireland and on Comedy Central in the UK and Ireland, although it is not currently being shown on either of these two networks. As of April 2013, ABC Spark in Canada are broadcasting the show in quadruple bills, twice daily. Lifetime also reran the show for a brief period in 2009.
|Season 1||22||September 7, 2010|
Early reviews for the show found the characterization generally stereotypical, but critics often praised the performance of Sara Rue. USA Today asserted that "in just two episodes, the good guys/bad guys structure and the exaggerated characterizations already are showing signs of wear," although it called Rue a "welcome addition" to TV sitcoms.People magazine likewise criticized the stereotypical characters, but summarized the show as "Hardly perfect but happily Rueful." However, by Season 3, USA Today said the show had "hit its stride."
|Season||Episodes||Timeslot (EDT)||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV season||Rank||Viewers |
|1||22||Tuesday 9:30 PM||October 1, 2002||May 20, 2003||2002-03||85||8.10|
|2||24||September 23, 2003||May 18, 2004||2003-04||66||8.80|
|3||22||Friday 9:30 PM||September 24, 2004||April 15, 2005||2004-05||94||6.20|
|4||13 (7 unaired)||Tuesday 9:30 PM||April 18, 2006||June 27, 2006||2005-06||115||4.90|