Funny, but not that funny

By Alex Brown.
The television show, “10 Items or Less,” is newly available on DVD. On paper, the show looks like it was stitched together from the corpses of good shows like some sort of television Frankenstein’s monster. Each episode is outlined and the dialogue improvised like “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” It has a premise and overall feel reminiscent of “The Office,” and seems to be in the same comedic vein of shows like “30 Rock,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Arrested Development.” It’s certainly in good company, but unfortunately, it falls just short of its contemporaries. “10 Items or Less” follows the story of the haplessly incompetent Leslie Pool (actor John Lehr, also the show’s writer and producer), the owner of an Ohio grocery store and his employees as they manage the shop and compete with the Super Value Mart down the street. Every episode seems to find the cast dealing with some new and ridiculous situation, be it Leslie’s addiction to bowling with frozen turkeys and 2 liters of soda in the aisles of the store, or the opening of a Lasik eye surgeon’s office in the back of the store. With their improvised dialogue, the cast usually delivers enough chuckles to keep you from changing the channel, but it doesn’t ever really rise past the level of silly, stupid fun. The main fault to be found here is that much of the improvised comedy is not of the same caliber as some better known shows that utilize the semi-scripted format. At its worst, scenes can become hard to watch as the cast just tries too hard to be funny and fall flat on their collective face. “10 Items or Less” is not a show with lofty goals. It’s not going to change your life. It’s not going to alter the way you look at the world. Odds are it won’t ever give your brain a workout. It’s just a comedy and it never aims to be much more. If you’re looking for a change of pace from your average sitcom, it doesn’t disappoint, but if you’re looking for the next big thing on TV, keep looking.