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The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
October 5, 2001 Friday, Home Edition
Features; Pg. 3E

Sweet-natured comedy captures teenage angst

PHIL KLOER
AJC

"Maybe It's Me" 8:30 tonight on WB (228619) Grade: B+

Fifteen-year-old Molly Stage has a very busy life and a very busy show called "Maybe It's Me." She's going to school, going flibbertigibbet over a boy named Nick, popping off instant computer messages to her friends, fantasizing constantly and dealing with her wacko family. You want to give her a boost, but she's boosted enough as it is.

"Maybe It's Me" is one of the best sitcoms the WB has ever come up with --- though that is faint praise indeed. Nonetheless, it's a very enjoyable show. It's cool enough that its target audience (girls 8 to 13 or so, and maybe some boys) will get into it, and sweet-natured enough that their parents won't want them to bail out of it.

And if newcomer Reagan Dale Nies, who plays Molly, looks and sounds more than a little like the wholesome younger sister of Melissa Joan Hart from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," that's not a bad thing, either.

The original title was "Maybe I'm Adopted," which was changed after adoption advocacy groups took offense but which captures Molly's horror at being stuck in this particular family. (Talk about your universal adolescent feeling.)

Mom (Julia Sweeney of "Saturday Night Live") is a Scrooge-like penny pincher; Dad (the incomparable Fred Willard) is obsessed with the soccer team he coaches. Grandma (Ellen Albertini Dow, the "rappin' granny" from "The Wedding Singer") is barely there. One older brother is an extremely born-again Christian musician, while the other is one step ahead of the cops. So, of course, when Mom invites Nick (the crush) over to dinner, Molly doesn't have long to wait for teenage mortification of the first order.

In a just universe, Willard would be the star here, but the WB is about serving youth, and "Maybe It's Me" serves them better than most other series out today.

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