Volume 96, Issue 6
Friday September 6, 2002

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Are you ready to laugh? Then skip fall's new shows

By Mark Polishuk
Gazette Staff


The traditional comedy is becoming an endangered species on TV. The only new comedy hits of recent years have been tongue-in-cheek reality shows like The Osbournes and filmed, laugh track-free shows like Sex and the City and Scrubs.

Judging by the sorry bunch of shows debuting this year, it looks like the trend will continue.


BRAM & ALICE (CBS),
Sunday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m.

A washed-up author meets the daughter he never knew he had, and they move in together. No word yet if Sharon and Lois are jealous of Alice. The show also features a character who is a Catholic priest-turned-bartender, so insert your own joke here about his preference for slightly aged wines.

CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER PRESENTS (FOX),
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 8:30 p.m.

Here's a new one: comedian Cedric the Entertainer hosts an old-fashioned variety show with skits, music and stand-up material. Wayne Brady's attempt to revive the variety genre last summer was a failure, but perhaps Cedric will have better luck. Let's just hope that Cedric leaves certain aspects of a variety show (i.e. dancing) to the professionals... actually wait, that might be pretty funny.

EIGHT SIMPLE RULES... (ABC)
 Tuesday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m.

ABC continues to attempt to revive its reputation as a "family" network by introducing yet another show about a dad coping with raising teenagers. John Ritter is about 20 years past his Three's Company prime and even worse, he's now too old to be taking his trademark painful falls in every episode. The only pain Ritter will feel with this show is looking at the Nielsen ratings.

GOOD MORNING MIAMI (NBC)
Thursday, Sept. 26, 9:30 p.m.

Mark Feuerstein plays a TV producer who takes over a Miami morning show that is populated by a collection of wacky characters. The success of a workplace comedy like this depends on whether the supporting characters are funny (News Radio) or stupid (Suddenly Susan). NBC has enough confidence in the show to give it one of the "Must See TV" slots on Thursday night, though that is no guarantee of quality.

THE GRUBBS (FOX),
Sunday, 9:30 p.m.

If you ever laughed at anything Randy Quaid did in the National Lampoon movies, then this show is your fault. Quaid stars in this remake of a British series about a family of losers. Since Canadians see American boors in real life, why would we want to watch them on TV?

IN-LAWS (NBC),
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m.

Hey, remember Meet the Parents? Okay, now change the plot so that the guy is actually living with his in-laws. Then replace Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller with Dennis Farina and Elon Gold. Are you laughing yet? Is there any conceivable way this show will NOT feature a scene about Farina walking in on his daughter and her husband having sex?

LIFE WITH BONNIE (ABC)
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 9 p.m.

Early critical word says this is the best of the new shows. Bonnie Hunt stars as the host of a morning talk show who has to balance her career and her family. What's with all these comedies about morning shows all of a sudden? David Alan Grier, from In Living Colour, co-stars, so there will be at least one funny person in the series.

THE OSBOURNES (CTV)
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 10 p.m.

It's not exactly a new show, but it's the first chance most Canadians will have to see Ozzy and his insane family. Even better, this version is uncensored, so the Osbournes can curse like kings – damn hell ass kings! Then again, Ozzy is so incoherent he could drop F-bombs left and right and nobody would even notice. Hopefully the "uncensored" part will only apply to the language, because... well, let's just pray that there isn't a camera in the bedroom. Mass hysterical blindness is usually bad for ratings.

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2002 THE GAZETTE