When people usually mention a Rob Thomas show that has been canceled way before it’s time, they most likely are talking about Veronica Mars or perhaps even Party Down. I agree that both of those were axed before they should have been, but today I’m here to pay a little tribute to a sometimes forgotten Rob Thomas classic, Cupid.
Long before Jeremy Piven was everyone’s favorite douchebag Ari Gold, he played the lovable and endearing Trevor Hale, a man who believed himself to be Cupid, the God of Love. Cast down from Mount Olympus due to his arrogance, Zeus has tasked Cupid with matching 100 couples before he is able to return. Problem is, no more bow and arrow, no magic, no nothing; all he has is his charm. Not surprisingly, Cupid finds himself in the psych ward.
Enter Paula Marshall as Dr. Claire Allen. She’s a relationships expert who has a weekly singles group therapy session. Of course, being a doctor she’s sees the meetings as a help to the loveless (and focus group for the book she is trying to write) whereas Cupid sees it as perhaps his ticket home. What follows is fourteen episodes of very entertaining and adorable romantic hi-jinks mixed in to a great story of the relationship between Trevor and Claire. Trevor/Cupid finds himself a job and a roommate and with each episode he is one couple closer to returning home to Mount Olympus. Or is he? Sadly, the show was canceled before we ever find out if Trevor truly is Cupid or not.
Cupid aired on ABC in 1998 and ran for only fourteen episodes. A fifteenth was shot but never aired. Thankfully Rob Thomas is a good guy who did answer some pressing questions the few of us who watched had. I’d go ahead and give those answers here but I’ll just link to his site because thankfully some dear soul has taken it upon themselves to upload Cupid to YouTube.
The video quality is about what you’d expect from VHS, but the writing and the chemistry between Piven and Marshall is just as good as when it aired. As with most entries in our Gone Too Soon series, the audience just wasn’t there. Ratings were rather dismal and combined with differences between creatives and business types, the show was canceled.
But wait, there’s more!
In a rare move, ABC decided to bring back Cupid in 2009. It wasn’t a continuation but rather a reworking. This time it was Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) as Trevor Pierce and Sarah Paulson as Claire McCrae. Even though it was still written by Thomas, the fast paced back and forth dialogue didn’t really work as well with Cannavale and Paulson so the second incarnation didn’t seem to have the same charm as the original. Apparently the rest of the world agreed and Cupid v.2 lasted only seven episodes.
Even though neither version of Cupid had a very long run, they were both enjoyable in their own right. Not only that but the first one was actually Rob Thomas’ rookie year as a showrunner in the television world. Without it, we might not ever have seen Veronica Mars or Party Down so even though it had a short life, it was one that led to great things.