Rita Rocks: The Complete Season One
20 Episodes on 3 Discs Widescreen Edition (2010) being released on DVD April 27
“Rita Rocks” stars Nicole Sullivan from MADtv as Rita, an overworked wife, mother, and former lead singer of a Bangles cover band who in the verge of an identity crisis with her family life decides to reconnect with her past by forming a garage band with her postal worker, an unemployed neighbor, and her daughter’s boyfriend. The story angle seems a little unlikely, but she mostly still has the same conflicts as other sitcoms when someone wants to pursue a hobby or new career choice with occasional garage performances that are clearly studio taped and dubbed over them giving it a slight “Glee” feel without the dancing.
Nicole Sullivan has always been funny in MADtv and even though this is a more laid-back family version of her usual comedy, her voice and line delivery are hilarious. She is very believable as a family mom trying to keep everyone together and her singing voice is nice enough for this sitcom. She lights up the show while most of the other characters are a bit dull. Sullivan is charismatic and can still deliver lots of laugh-out-loud moments over the course of each episode.
Patty is the postal worker played by Tisha Campbell-Martin from the “Martin” TV show and is more impressive vocally as a singer. She still carries enough attitude to be funny but her singing voice is a little better than Sullivan’s. I haven’t seen postal workers delivering mail door to door handing it to people since black and white TV shows in the 1950s, but they try to make it seem like it’s a natural everyday occurrence. She ends up becoming the sassy black best friend who gets to throw in stuff like “oh no she didn’t!”
Her husband, Jay Clemens is played by Richard Ruccolo from “Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place.” The daughters, Shannon and Hallie are played by Kelly Gould and Natalie Dreyfuss. The family has good chemistry together but Sullivan by far is the star and has more personality than the other three combined. The best part of the family is the fact that the dog is named Yoda.
This season is a great introduction to the series. Situational comedy is predictable as it goes, but this show is average to pretty funny here with Nicole Sullivan. It’s too bad that it was announced in January this year that Lifetime is canceling this series after two 20 Episode seasons. So all that’s left are these DVD seasons and re-runs that you would have to wait for so if you enjoy this show, probably should pick this set up.
There is a music video for “Somebody to Worry About” performed by Nicole Sullivan, Tisha Campbell Martin, Raviv Ullman, and Ian Gomez. The lyrics are very mom-centric but they fit the character well and she sings them like she means them. The video is mostly shots of them in the studio recording mixed with images from the show and it’s sweet.