“Clipped” recap (1.1): Cut and dried

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Ladies, we’ve got a new scissor-wielding queer woman to admire. Goodbye, Shane McCutcheon. Hello, Charmaine Eskowitz.

When I heard David Kohan and Max Mutchnick were behind TBS’ new sitcom Clipped, I was positively optimistic. After all, this is the team that gave us Will & Grace. But when I heard that out comic actress Diona Reasonover would be playing queer character Charmaine–well I knew how I’d be spending my Tuesday nights.

The first signs are good. Clipped is about a group of very different people (most of whom went to high school together) who work at a Boston barbershop. Did a Boston accent pop up as you read that? If not, don’t worry–you’ll get plenty of that on the show! And while the show’s romantic tension focuses on Danni (Ashley Tisdale) and A.J. (Mike Castle), it’s the supporting cast that will really get you going.

Early on in the pilot episode we see two men argue over (of course) the Patriots. Right when it looks like things are going to get ugly, Buzzy (George Wendt) lays one on Tommy (Reginald VelJohnson).

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To which Charmaine pre-empts a client’s question with, “They’re a couple for 42 years. We call them Brokehip Mountain.”

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After hearing that monotone voice and sarcasm, I knew I’d like Charmaine.

Around to ruin all the fun is little Ben (Ryan Pinkston), who bought the shop off Buzzy. Ben’s determined to fire an employee to avoid an insurance premium increase. Cold brah.

Team meeting time. Everyone starts pointing fingers, including Buzzy at Charmaine (he’s heard the Brokehip comments too many times). The hell, Buzzy? What happened to queer solidarity? Charmaine is not impressed.

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She picks Danni as their scapegoat, because pretty girls always get paid. She’s not wrong. Ashley Tisdale has had a steady stream of work throughout the years (shout out to lesbian Logan from Young and Hungry!).

Plus, Charmaine is Jewish, so she’s feeling pretty good about her career prospects. But no need to worry anyway, because A.J. is here to save the day. He got a call from an influential sports agent and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a professional baseball player. So he’s biting the bullet for the team.

By the way, slimy Ben could totally work things out so that he wouldn’t have to fire anyone. But he’s still feeling the neglect from his high school days and the boy-man sure knows how to hold a grudge.

Sadly the sports agent really wanted to speak to A.J.’s brother, so his ball playing dreams aren’t a reality yet. When he fesses up to the group they’re all supportive, except Charmaine who reasonably points out that there’s still the matter of one of them having to go.

What do you do in times like this? You all threaten to quit. Everyone, including receptionist Joy (Lauren Lapkus) and Ben’s best friend Mo (Matt Cook), head out the door.

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Ben, being the shrewd businessman he is, realizes he’s not going to easily find a bunch of folks willing to work for minimal pay in a crappier part of Boston. At least not on short notice. He changes his tune and everyone’s job is safe.

Or as Charmaine puts it, “And they say the douchebag’s heart grew three sizes that day.”

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I have to say, that was a pretty solid first episode. The interplay between Charmaine and Buzzy was spot on. But is it greedy of me to already want to see Charmaine working on some female clients? Time will tell how long I have to wait.

You can watch Clipped Tuesday nights on TBS at 10/9c.

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