Montgomery plays Martina Garretti, a Jersey girl who lands an associate position at a high-powered Manhattan law firm despite sporting a thick Jersey accent and a degree from a lower tier school, as opposed to an Ivy League one.
There, she encounters snobby colleagues, one of which tells her, “You lower expectations just by walking into a room.” Oooh, burn!
Back in Jersey, Martina is surrounded by stereotypical “wacky” Jersey family that values Italian food and big hair, but is quick with the hugs and affection.
The problem with the show is there’s not a lot of there there. There’s no dramatic hook. We’re supposed to buy Garretti as this big underdog and while she might have a tougher time making it in the Manhattan legal community than a Harvard law school graduate, she still has a law degree, she’s still smart and she’s still drop-dead beautiful. Not exactly a disadvantaged underdog. At least on “Ugly Betty,” the show cast an atypical starlet and then went out of their way to make her awkward and unattractive. That is not the case with “Made in Jersey.”
Plus, there’s no meat in the conflict. How many episodes can we watch her prove her worth on the case-of-the-week? Her colleagues aren’t three-dimension enough to be interesting, her family isn’t dysfunctional enough to give her a colorful backstory. It’s all very one-note and we aren’t sure fans of “Blue Bloods,” CBS’ big Friday night hit (and an underrated drama) are going to care about Martina Garretti’s legal adventures.
That being said, Janet Montgomery is positively effervescent and since CBS seems to find success with anything it puts on the air, there’s a good chance “Made in Jersey” hangs around. If it doesn’t, Montgomery should have no trouble finding another show to anchor.
“Made in Jersey” premieres Friday, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS