the early word

ABC’s ‘Sam I Am’: Mean Girl, Awake!

Courtesy of ABC

Vulture’s taking a look at some of the most prominent of the picked-up fall TV shows. Which are good? Which are horrible? And most important, which will be worth a precious DVR season pass?

Title: Sam I Am

Stars: Christina Applegate, Barry Watson (7th Heaven), Jean Smart (24)

Network: ABC, Mondays at 9:30

The pitch: Grown-up Mean Girl is hit by a car and awakens with amnesia. Given a second chance, does she actually want to be her old self?

Pilot report: Sam (Applegate) awakens from her coma to find her mother (Smart) making a self-pitying video for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As she tries to regain remnants of her life, Sam learns she was cheating on her nice boyfriend Todd (Watson) and has a shallow, cruel best friend named Andrea (Jennifer Esposito). Emptying her purse, Sam finds a 30-day chip from Alcoholics Anonymous but is kicked out of a meeting when she questions her preference for lemon bars over blueberry muffins. By the end of the pilot, Sam’s doorman dispenses advice via a Tom Waits song (“They say if you get far enough away, you’ll be on your way back home”), and Sam decides to start her life from scratch.

Representative dialogue: “Where are you? It’s Renée’s birthday! Everybody’s here! Did you forget?”

Breakout star: Jean Smart borrows her thoughtless self-absorption from Lucille on Arrested Development, and that’s just fine.

Worth a season pass? Yes. It’s on opposite Heroes, so you won’t watch it live anyway, but Sam I Am is quick fun. The jokes about forgetting everything could wear thin, but the creators (Don Todd of Ugly Betty and Irish author Cecelia Ahern) seem conscious of that. Applegate brings the physical range and sensibility we first saw in Anchorman, so that’s a lock. It’s tough to know how long the plotline can run before Sam completely transforms and gets a new life, but until then it’s a good watch before you go to bed. —Aileen Gallagher

ABC’s ‘Sam I Am’: Mean Girl, Awake!