An ingenious and funny sitcom, Samantha Who? stars Christina Applegate as a selfish and crass businesswoman who gets amnesia during a car accident. Getting acquainted with her old life, Samantha receives a second chance at being a decent and thoughtful friend and daughter, but often stumbles in her strained efforts to be a force for good. Applegate's Samantha is initially shocked at her pre-amnesia reputation for cruelty, random displays of power, meanspiritedness to co-workers, a lack of compassion for her boyfriend Todd (Barry Watson), and brutality toward a childhood... friend, Dena (Melissa McCarthy). More than any of that, however, Samantha is pained by her apparent, longtime estrangement from her mother (Jean Smart) and father (Kevin Dunn), wondering how on Earth she could have done without them in her life. The first 10 or so episodes of Samantha Who? find the new-and-improved heroine trying hard to capitalize on a different personality and perspective on things. She apologizes for old slights and unintentional, new mistakes, and leaves a lot of goodwill and some confusion in her wake. But with time and flashes of remembrance of her old life, Samantha slowly becomes a hybrid of her new sweetness and vintage schemer. Both devil and angel, she becomes a more balanced survivor and pretty funny character. The show's creators and writers give the superb cast great material and lines on the theme of rampant dissatisfaction in relationships and hope for the future. The scenes between Applegate and Smart, especially, are the stuff of an instant classic. The second half of Samantha Who: The Complete First Season loses a bit of steam, generating a little less laughter, though story ideas are still fresh and original. But on the whole, this is a series to embrace. --Tom Keogh [show more]
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