Arli$$ (TV Series 1996–2002) Poster

(1996–2002)

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25 Sports Agents Dead In The Road?...a good start!
Shapster118 February 2006
I borrowed the lawyer's joke to make a point about Arliss, the agent. Devoid of real consistent ethics Arli$$ Michaels is the epitome of the complex character who treads equally on the honorable side and the ethically challenged. Mix in a bit of conscience with a dash of capitalistic greed and that describes Arli$$ and the AMM Management team.

As for the players they are (were) first rate. Robert Wuhl is phenomenal as the namesake character Arliss Michaels. Combining terrific story lines with a real sense of what and how an agent thinks this comedian turned actor hits a bullseye. The show was, after all, his idea and creation. Jim Turner is ideal as the former jock, first round draft pick and first Arli$$ client, playboy burnout Kirby Carlisle. Michael Boatman is superb as Stanley Babson, the erstwhile V.P. of Finance who often attempts to induce some morality and class into the organization. Occasionally Stanley is faced with the perplexing situation of doing what is right or what is best for the client?, AMM?, or Stanley? Finally there is Sandra Oh as Rita Wu, Arli$$' long suffering secretary. Forever loyal Rita is underpaid, under-appreciated, and under-minded by Arli$$ and almost always Kirby. Rita has her dilemma's of conscience as well but she is insightful yet gullible and always longing to meet Mr. Right so she can quit her job which she really loves. Sound confusing? It is because the show displayed all the nuances of good character development and story lines.

Mix this all in with great guest stars from sports and entertainment and you get a rapid, fast paced 1/2 hour show never wanting for a good laugh or a tear. Arliss has been gone since 2002 and is now a regular late night entry onto ESPN Classic's repertoire. The only problem is this show, like many made for cable, does not have points at which commercial breaks are accounted for and language is censored thereby lessening the fun for those of us fans. Yet, for the newcomer, a whole new generation can enjoy the comic timing and plot lines. Some of the athletes are now dated in time but it is easy to follow. A highly recommended show!!!
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Sporting a Laugh
derekauthor7 January 2007
Robert Wuhl created and starred in this HBO TV show about a sports agent who was cutthroat but, at the same time, had the important values everyone seems to have.

Robert Wuhl portrayed Arliss Michaels, who represents several athletes (most of which are real and even made cameo appearances on the show). Sandra Oh played Rita, Arliss's sarcastic secretary who was never afraid to speak her mind and even helped Arliss as well as her co-workers at times. Then there was Jim Turner, who played Kirby, another sports agent who had those important values which made up for his unruly ways of doing business and other activities outside the office (you have to see the show). Finally, there was Michael Boatman, who played Stanley, the agency's financial adviser who was ultimately an arrogant jerk who was somewhat likable and even funny.

The show itself was funny, but sometimes even touching and truthful. It pointed out that even the biggest people in a business like this has the kind of heart a lot of people look for in everyone. That is what made these characters (Arliss, Rita, Kirby, and yes, even Stanley) likable -- they all had hearts.

Robert Wuhl also served as executive producer and even directed some episodes.

I give "Arliss" 3 1/2 stars out of 4.
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can't believe there are bad comments on this show!
JBoze3134 June 2001
I can't believe there are the number of negative comments there are here about Arliss. I love this, and I have been a huge fan since the start. It airs every weeknight now on HBO comedy, and I thank my cable company everyday for picking the channel up. Wuhl (spelling?) is a genius, and his work on the show is brilliant. The chemistry is awesome in the show, even tho one comment said it was horrible. I think the entire cast is hilarious and the shows never fail to entertain. I am usually laughing the entire episode, and that's sometimes rare with some of the crap that is on tv today....this is a great show, and if you haven't seen it, you have to check it out.
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8/10
Still Funny 20 Years Later
dlxmarks23 September 2018
I watched HBO only on business trips back in the 90's so I saw only a dozen or so 'Arli$$' episodes over its run but I recall always liking them. That's why I'm surprised that it became almost a fad in the media to bash the show in its final seasons. 'Entertainment Weekly' included 'Arli$$' on its worst series lists a few years in a row, ESPN commentators randomly criticized it, and 'Saturday Night Live' for unknown reasons mocked it a few times. Honestly the circa 2000 'SNL' daring to call another program unfunny is like the pot with so much baked on burnt rancid gunk that it smells like decaying feet calling the slightly tarnished kettle black. Anyway I recently watched an 'Arli$$' best of season 1 and 2 DVD collection and I think it's still a good show with well-drawn characters, talented cast, and satirical writing. The only things I didn't like were the distinctly amateur performances from the actual athletes and other celebrities. One episode that wasn't in the collection but still sticks in my memory after 20 years is "The Real Thing" from season two. It had a great convoluted plot, brilliant characters like a tech billionaire whose collection of Disney memorabilia includes a frozen Walt Disney, and some sharp satire of sports. Some of the details might be wrong because I saw this once in 1997 but my favorite scene involved an assistant MLB coach who had possession of the 500th home run ball that the team's star player just hit. He asks for what sounds like an outrageous sum for it and everyone looks scandalized. Then the coach reminds them that the player gets more than that for every single game he plays. That was cutting and it's truer now than ever.
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Our favorite American sports agent.
Brian-2729 June 2001
Arliss Michaels can do it all bring the laughter, humor, and serious moments all at the same time make the sports deal of the century. Robert Wuhl is a perfect fit for this character he is really doing a great job, plus this series always receives strong supporting performances from Sandra Oh and Michael Boatman. So give this sports comedy series a watch for the funny Robert Wuhl.
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The best show on television today
aerilon11 September 2002
I love this show. It is absolutely brilliant, in my opinion. Despite the opinions of some prior reviewers, the cast has a strong chemistry with one another, and all the characters show both ambition and ruthlessness in the pursuit of their goals, as well as a human side, with real feelings and even a conscience. The actors fit their parts extremely well, so well in fact that I find myself despising Kirby just as much as I despised the idiot jocks I've known who were so hung up on themselves they couldn't see two feet past their nose. And I find that the comedic moments are excellent as well, some of the funniest have been provided by Sandra Oh as Rita Wu. This show, along with Dennis Miller Live, may be one of the two best items among the many that fill up HBO's time slots.
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7/10
(Somewhat) Unfairly Maligned
Better_TV17 January 2019
This show is, on the whole, not as bad as everyone says. But those who tout its unimpeachable brilliance are a bit off, too -- there's some real stinkers in this series, especially in the later seasons.

As a sports comedy it's usually pretty fun, with plenty of cameos from real athletes and personalities. There's also plenty of made-up characters -- agents, coaches, managers, players, and more, all zipping around a cutthroat, cynical world that's clearly meant as a dig at the profession's sickening sunshine-y portrayal in "Jerry Maguire."

The show is at its weakest when it's focusing on its amoral characters' disgusting sex lives. Arliss himself, played by Robert Wuhl, also might be off-putting to some: he's an obsessive optimist, willing to do whatever he can for his clients. And the show too often undermines any genuine sympathy you might have for the characters by immediately jump cutting to over-the-top punchlines.

But when it's funny, it's pretty darn funny. Focus on the first couple seasons; season 1 highlights include "Athletes Are Role Models," featuring a goody two-shoes Christian footballer who takes a bite of the serpent's fruit, played by Rick Johnson; "The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of" with Ken Howard as a washed up baseball icon; and "Negotiating: It's Never Personal," which has an all-around great cast including George Wallace and Michael Fairman, with a great storyline to boot.

The show is readily available on HBO's on-demand and streaming platforms. Worth a watch, if only to seek out the really good episodes.
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Extremely funny show.
fattony28 June 2000
Arliss is one of the best shows around, especially if you are in to sports. The cameos by notable sports figures make this show a hilarious and notable standout! It is a great venue for some very unique and talented actors such as Michael Boatman (Stanley) and Sandra Oh (Rita).

Check it out when you can, you won't be disappointed.
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A Great Show!!
CripplerCrossface31 May 2001
Arliss, is without a doubt, one of the greatest television shows running today. It is a great comedy, and also tackles serious problems, like people taking steroids, and domestic violence. It also has many cameos. Doug Flutie, Ken Griffey, Jr., and many other sports personalities have been on!

I rate this show an A. Ignore the negative feedback and watch this show! You will be completely drawn into it!
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8/10
Binge!!! 8.5/10
laxplaya22616 February 2019
I just tore my ACL in a flag football game and found this show on HBOGO. I binged the entire series. The cast is phenomenal and I love the Celebrity cameos. Robert Wuhl as Arliss is perfect. Stanley, Rita & Kirby are exciting and entertaining characters. This is the Ballers and Entourage of the 90s. Great show! 8.5/10
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Just not funny.
Evil_Fonzie8 May 2001
HBO is responsible for some of the most groundbreaking programming to grace the medium of television in the past decade, that is why I am amazed that they continue to broadcast this show. It is just not funny, it is almost as if Robert Wuhl took the "ruthless sports agent" idea from Jerry Maguire and decided to make it not funny or amusing in any way. This show is a waste of time.
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Beyond Brilliant
LivingDog4 July 2003
Arli$$ is beyond brilliant. It is down-to-earth, greedy, and real! I am not a sports fan, but I can't wait to see the next present in store for me when I watch Arli$$. There is no show in TV's history that is able to entertain and move you at the same time, than Arli$$.

The cast:

Robert Wuhl as Arliss Michaels should receive an Emmy

Jim Turner as Kirby Carlisle should receive an Emmy

Sandra Oh as Rita Wu should receive an Emmy (and I luv her! :)

Michael Boatman as Stanley Babson should receive an Emmy

I can't imagine a better cast. They all perform 110%. They bring their characters to life. This show is incredible!!!

-Zafoid
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Good fun
Quinoa198416 July 2000
I like this show, but not as much as some others. It has some very funny moments (mainly when Wuhl is at the helm of writer and director) but not enough to make it a reccommendable show. For fans of sports or some other things, this is a comic treat. Others might want to change the channel. B+
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just plain funny
jimmy-11324 September 1999
ive seen Arliss quite a few times now, though i never go out of my way to watch it like i do south park or the simpsons..but still, it is an entertaining look at the world of sports agents and the like..only watch it though if nothing else is on..pretty good!
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good show about a sports agent dealing with the media and etc
matthew8721 August 2003
I am a big fan of Sports especially baseball and arliss is a sports agent who deals with the media and how to deal with sports stars.The show has real sports guys such as barry bonds,tiger woods,bobby bonilla,ricky bottalico,will clark,shaq and many others.
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Can be great
UMich4 July 2000
I have watched Arli$$ from the beginning, and believe that the quality has deteriorated a great deal. However, when the show deals with serious topics in a serious manner (and still manages to work in some humor) such as recent episodes dealing with domestic violence and steroid use, it is one of the most compelling comedies on television.
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Can't believe it's still on the air
Hotoil25 May 2001
HBO usually has a knack for picking up some funny series. Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show with Bob & David, The Larry Sanders Show, Chris Rock, Dennis Miller Live...capable of packing in a lot of laughs. Not Arli$$. One of the most unfunny series I have ever seen with a cast that has absolutely no chemistry. The concept seems rich, but the writing staff doesn't seem to have a clue about comedy and the stories they come up with are less than interesting. I can usually sit through a block of HBO comedy shows but this one always has me turning off the TV.
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Oh so not funny...
cleverscreename129 July 2002
This is possibly the worst show on television. With great shows like "Sex and the City", "Curb your enthusiasm", "The Sopranos" and "Oz" I don't know why HBO still has this garbage.

Mostly I don't know why it's still on the air. It's terribly not funny. The actor who plays Arliss annoys me to no end. It's the kind of show that sneaks up on you after a show you enjoy is over and you're too tired to get the remote. And then you lye there...in agony...

It's terribly, horribly, wretchedly, grossly, stupendously, extremely, bad.
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