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Jessica Walter (pictured) is to TV what NBA player Jeremy Lin was to the New York Knicks two seasons ago. When the star player of the great team, Carmelo Anthony, missed a few games to nurse an injury, Lin, an unknown rookie from Harvard, was given a chance to play as a contingency plan.
No-one saw what happened next coming. The kid was amazing with high percentages in free throws and even occasional dunks. The new discovery was a bittersweet one for New Yorkers because while Lin was giving them tremen- dous wins, they were wondering why he had been left on the bench all the time while the Knicks struggled.
You almost get the same feeling with Walter who is a brilliant actor. She has been acting since the 1960s but most of us know her from the hit show Arrested Development where she played Lucile Bluth. Crowded in the midst of Jason Bateman, Micheal Cera and Jeffery Tambor, it is really hard to notice Walter on the show. Overall, Arrested Development is a magnificent show and yet there are too many cast members for anyone to shine, let alone actors with lesser speaking lines like Walter.
But this is not the case in Retired at 35, a new sitcom in which Walter plays Elaine Robbins, a mother to a successful young man called David (played by Jonathan McClain). Although the story follows the life of Dave in the Big Apple, it is his love for his mother that keeps us in constant touch with Walter’s character and we see how talented she is. For her, stepping into roles seems effortless because she is a master storyteller.
George Segal stars as David’s father and he too helps illuminate Walter’s performance.
None of this should come as a surprise because Walter has a long acting career, beginning in 1962 with the soap Love of Life. She has since done everything from Mission Impossible to The Big Bang Theory. She has also appeared in Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Intent playing two different characters.
In Retired at 35, as if to avenge her suffocation on Arrested Development, we see a different Walter who will keep us in stitches until the next episode.
• Retired At 35 premiers this Sunday at 7.30pm on e.tv.