ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Fall comedies lacking
By Mark Polishuk
Gazette file photo
BACK? Proving that years of ridicule and a stagnating
career are not enough to hold her back, Whoopi returns
to the small screen with a new self-titled sitcom.
Every year the networks ask us, "Are
you ready to laugh?!" and the poor quality of sitcoms makes
the audience react as if they'd just heard about a dog being
run over in a parking lot. Maybe 2003 is the year when the next
Seinfeld emerges, but don't hold your breath.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (FOX):
Sunday at 9:30 p.m.
Sadly, it's not a sitcom about the early '80s rap group. The
show is actually about a rich family who has their assets frozen
by the government. Two bits of unintentional comedy: first,
the show stars Jason Bateman. Second, Bateman's son on the show
is named George Michael. Must've been hell trying to potty-train
that kid. It's a ripoff of... Uptown Girls. Hopefully
everyone on this show can act better than Brittany Murphy.
Thursday at 9:30 p.m.
Coupling is about six friends who all sleep with one
another, so it's too bad this show isn't on HBO for the inevitable
orgy episode. It's a ripoff of... well, the BBC's Coupling.
Also, a show about three men and three women? It should be called
Friends (With Benefits).
HOPE AND FAITH
(ABC): Friday at 9 p.m.
Kelly Ripa is a soap star whose career falls apart and she moves
back in with her soccer mom sister, Faith Ford. Oddly enough,
Faith plays Hope and Kelly plays Faith. It's a ripoff of...
IT'S ALL RELATIVE (ABC):
Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
The son of a blue-collar, Irish Catholic family falls in love
with the daughter of two gay men. If you like stereotypes, then
this is the show for you. It's a ripoff of... The Birdcage.
A MINUTE WITH STAN HOOPER
(FOX): Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
Norm Macdonald is a reporter who decides to move to Wisconsin
to experience some small-town America and discovers a bunch
of zany cheeseheads. Macdonald is one of those guys who can
make anything funny, so this might be the best bet for the new
season. It's a ripoff of... Newhart, which isn't surprising
since both shows have the same creator, Barry Kemp.
TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS):
Monday at 9:30 p.m.
Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen are two brothers trying to raise
Cryer's kid. Why not just a show about Sheen himself? It can
be called Oh Charlie, after what Denise Richards always
says after hearing about yet another of Charlie's drug `n brothel
weekends. Emilio Estevez can play the Cryer role and Martin
Sheen can make cameos yelling at his sons. It can't miss! It's
a ripoff of... Three Men and a Baby.
(NBC): Tuesday at 8 p.m.
It's Whoopi Goldberg. She plays a singing diva turned hotel
owner, to quote the NBC Web site. I've never been happier to
have a Tuesday night class. It's a ripoff of... Fawlty Towers.
Is Whoopi Goldberg funnier than John Cleese? Hell no.