A Fox series that only had a short first season, "The Loop" is a new sitcom that has a lot of things that many sitcoms don't offer viewers today. Things like...good jokes, smart stories and funny performances. "The Loop" is one of the more pleasant sitcom surprises in the last couple of years, and I'd bet most people aren't even aware of it.
Sam Sullivan (Bret Harrison) is the youngest executive ever hired by TransAlliance Airways, and works in their Chicago (hence, "The Loop", named after Chicago's downtown business district) office. However, his friends haven't passed the point of partying and into a professional life yet, and Sam remains torn between his job and his social life. Taking his focus away from work are: Sully (Eric Christian Olsen), Lizzy (Sarah Mason) and Sam's longtime crush, Piper (Amanda Loncar).
Truth be told, there's elements of "The Loop" that have been done before. However, it's the writing and the performances that bring a lot to the table and make the show feel fresh. Olsen is terrific as Sam's reckless older brother, often intentionally sabotaging him (in the first episode, Sully shaves part of Sam's head, forcing him to wear a pirate hat in a meeting) Harrison is also marvelous playing a character forced to think quickly to save himself professionally and keep up with his friends socially.
At the office, Phillip Baker Hall is classic as Russ, Sam's boss and Mimi Rodgers is amusing as another executive who often flirts with Sam. One of the best supporting players is Joy Osmanski, who is hilarious as Darcy, Sam's deeply bitter secretary who graduated near the top of her class at MIT and believes she deserves better.
The writing's often hilarious, both in terms of the show's one-liners and the situations (in one episode, Sam falls for a girl who promotes liquor, then on the day of an important presentation, he wakes up on a beach in Cabo with little memory of the prior night's Tequila Challenge; another episode has Sully installing a zip line to the nearby food cart down the street) are hysterical. The series is created by Pam Brady (writer of "South Park") and Will Gluck ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") and directors for this first season include: Betty Thomas ("Brady Bunch" movies, "Private Parts"), Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball") and Jay Chandrasekhar ("Super Troopers").
It seemed as if a second season of "The Loop" was questionable, but the front of this DVD has a sticker noting that a second season is coming soon (unfortunately, not until June 10th, according to the show's website) Hopefully, the network will give the series the kind of push it deserves, as this is one that deserves to stick around.
1. 1- 1 15 Mar 06 Pilot
- The love-struck Sam plans a brithday party that Piper will never forget, whether her boyfriend is able to attend or not.
2. 1- 2 16 Mar 06 Jack Air
- Lizzy's pal Jenna convinces Sam to join her for a promotional drinking challenge.
3. 1- 3 23 Mar 06 Tiger Express
- Sam bumps into an old flame and hopes that a dinner date to Hong Kong will qualify him for "third date status."
4. 1- 4 30 Mar 06 Trouble in the Saddle
- An unfortunate groin injury nearly prevents Sam from scoring a business deal at Russ's horse ranch.
5. 1- 5 6 Apr 06 Year of the Dog
- Sully's dog-sitting business puts Sam in trouble when a dog swallows an important flash drive.
6. 1- 6 12 Apr 06 Bear Drop Soup
- Sam's new promotion upsets his co-workers, while Piper's new anatomy tutor puts her in a hairy predicament.
7. 1- 7 13 Apr 06 Rusty Trombone
- Sam's plan nearly backfires when he sneaks out of work to meet Piper at a concert.
VIDEO: "The Loop" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen by Fox. The presentation quality is quite good, as the shows remained crisp and well-defined throughout most of the shows. Some minor traces of artifacting were spotted on a couple of occasions, but the presentation otherwise looked clean and clear. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack didn't offer much in the way of activity, but audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Unfortunately, just a featurette: "Thesis: Work and Play".
Final Thoughts: It's been a long while since these episodes have aired (this first season ended nearly a year ago), but I thought they were even funnier here than when I watched them during the original broadcast. Hopefully the network will give the second season more of a push. The DVD set offers little in the way of extras, but fine audio/video quality. Highly recommended.