20 May 2009


Stacked Actually A Cute Little Sitcom
By Kristin Battestella

I only caught a few episodes of the Pamela Anderson comedy Stacked when it aired briefly a few years ago on Fox. In my recent marathon of the nineteen-episode comedy, I discovered this brief series about a bookstore and its crazy cliental isn’t half-bad.

Skyler Dayton (Pamela Anderson) stumbles into a bookstore after a bitter breakup with her rocker boyfriend. Stacked owner Stuart Miller (Brian Scolaro) is instantly smitten with the buxom blonde and offers her a job. Stuart’s brother and partner at the bookstore Gavin (Elon Gold) is reluctant to hire Skylar, for he is too busy reflecting on his failed book and nasty ex wife. Sassy cafĂ© clerk Katrina (Marissa Jaret Winokur) resents the free spirited Skyler at first, but she quickly warms to her-as does quirky regular customer and ex-professor Harold March (Christopher Lloyd).

Stacked - The Complete SeriesYes, we know her busty persona onscreen and off, but Pamela Anderson (Baywatch, VIP) is surprisingly comedic as Skyler. Unfortunately, I could live without some of her cloths. Sure, we’ve got the hottie get ups, but other ensembles are just incredibly ill fitting and out of style only four years removed. Despite her lack of fashion or dramatic skills, Anderson has presence, intelligence delivery, and comedic timing. Maybe she’s not the best, but it’s a pleasant surprise from the dumb blonde send-ups we’ve come to expect from Anderson. She does some pretty funny impersonations for Stacked, and the series need not rely on her loosely fiction accounts of rock stars or famous friends Steven Tyler, Kid Rock, Carmen Electra, and Jenny McCarthy. Towards the final episodes, Anderson does fall back on her sex appeal, but Stacked is a fine example of her skills beyond beauty.

You must like Pam Anderson to enjoy Stacked, of course, but Marissa Jaret Winokur (Fever Pitch, Dancing with the Stars) is a toe towards annoying. While it’s nice to see a big and sassy chica dishing it out and getting some lovin’, Winokur is sometimes too bitchy. Some of Kat’s mannerisms and hijinks also make her a bit unlikable, and her costumes are a miss as well. You can’t dress someone like Winokur in the same style as your would Pamela Anderson, and Stacked never decides on the two ladies’ relationship. Thankfully, Elon Gold (The Dana Carvey Show) and stand up comedian Brian Scolaro (Three Sisters) are kind of cool. They have great chemistry as brothers, and both can be the funny or the straight man according to the story’s needs. Though Stuart has the built in storyline of chasing Skyler, Gold and Anderson make a far better humorous odd couple. Had Stacked continued, it would have been quite fun to see this relationship develop.

Billed last, Christopher Lloyd (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future) steals his share of time on Stacked. He’s the master over the little things like his chair and the quip, and his veteran status adds experience and authenticity to the bookstore. Harold’s shout outs, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and fatherly nature are like Taxi all over again. Instead of cashing in on all Big Pam’s Hollywood connections, Stacked might have lasted longer had it showcased some of Lloyd’s pals. Can you imagine Danny Devito as an angry customer demanding satisfaction for not liking a book he bought?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of inconsistencies in Stacked, and they are only made more obvious by its brief episodes. You can’t exactly forget that much of what went on before in only nineteen episodes. Two episodes in a row use Pamela Anderson as a dating ploy-nearer the end of the series’ run, all the sex and stunt casting attempts are used, too. Gavin looks too young to have 10-year-old kids and be divorced as well. And if his family is so important to him, why aren’t they always there? It seems as if creator and writer Steve Levitan (Just Shoot Me, Wings) forgot about them for half the show. There are other inconsistencies as well, including double ploys with gull stones and kidney stones four episodes apart. The irony is that Stacked also has several storylines running throughout its episodes that are never forgotten. Go figure. Naturally, it must be tough to establish much of anything with a five episode first season followed by fourteen episodes in season two. How did that happen?

Maybe consistency does waver, but at least the dialogue is witty. Stacked doesn’t need some of the bland plots and stunt casting employed to save it. The talent and comedic timing is there all around. I laughed quite a bit during my marathon, and I can still picture some of the slapstick. I would have liked more talk and storylines that actually dealt with books and the nature of the book business, but I guess Pamela Anderson as a fish out of water will always trump humorous book chitchat or misunderstandings. The layout of the Stacked Bookstore is also kind of strange. The coffee shop seems bigger than the space for books; and sometimes all four employees as well as Harold are in the side office. With no employees and so little books to sell, Stacked must not do much business.

I like the theme and the opening credits are kind of cute, but of course, Slow Motion Pam is the only one there. And at only 22 minutes, the book page drawings in between scenes are a waste of time. Instead of allusions to turning the next page in your life, Stacked should have made better use of its quirky bookstore persona. Naturally, the series doesn’t really have an ending, and audiences are left wondering the fate of these newfound friends. Stacked is short enough to watch quickly, but its quite fun to return to as well.

Stacked is by no means perfect, but it was never fully developed, either. Some may find that disappointing and not bother, but there’s plenty of fun along the ride. Anderson fans will like all her bits, of course, but intelligent comedy fans can also enjoy Stacked. In such a small space, it’s kind of fun to notice imperfections, wonder where the stairs in the store go to, or try and spot the books in the background. The DVD set can be found affordably enough, and there are several free online viewing options as well. Stacked is a quick and fun series that deserves a second chance.

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