03/31/1986 at 01:00 AM EST
CBS (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Sure, I believe that Robby Benson's character grew up on Chicago's tough South Side. What was he—his gang's parliamentarian, or maybe chairman of the bake sale? I find it just as easy to believe that he's now a brave cop. When, in the opening credits of his new sitcom, Benson brandishes a gun and tries to look mean and menacing, I can't help thinking of an armed Smurf. But what's really believable about Tough Cookies is Robby Benson, sex symbol. In the premiere, he tries to look lustful as he says to his girlfriend, "We should take a bath together." I find myself picturing them with squeaking ducks and no-tears shampoo. Casting Robby Benson as a Marlon Brando/Clint Eastwood/Tom Selleck is so ludicrous that I wondered whether it was part of the joke—or whether it was the joke. After all, Tough Cookies comes from two-thirds of the team that brought you Soap, Benson and The Golden Girls. Maybe these people just have a strange and subtle sense of humor. But watching the show cured me of any such delusion. Tough Cookies is not funny. In fact, it's quite sad. So I don't mean to be mean to Robby Benson. I feel sorry for the kid and for Lainie Kazan, Adam Arkin and everybody else who's trapped in this instaflop.