Picks and Pans Review: Hooperman
In L.A. Law, producers Steven (Hill Street Blues) Bochco and Mary Louise Fisher add humor to drama. As dramatists go, they're good comedians. But they're not funny enough to make a sitcom. Here's the proof. In a series as sweetsy and gooey as an overdone marshmallow, John (Three's Company) Ritter plays Harry Hooperman, an unlucky shmo of a cop whose own car gets broken into and whose own landlady gets murdered. That's how Ritter becomes a landlord and ends up with wacky co-stars at work and home. Each ensemble comes with a cheap San Francisco gay joke: a drag queen and a gay cop who spurns the advances of a woman cop. ("Under this drab blue uniform I'm wearing a flimsy silk teddy," she whispers. "Does that make you hot?") Ritter is the sensitive cop, probably a product of therapy. He cries. He's the one they call to coax suicidal leapers off ledges. (Stealing a gag from David Letterman, Ritter takes out a watermelon: "This is you before..."—then drops it—"...and after.") He's a softy, but he's not soft on crime. He tramps on civil rights to get an illegal warrant because "as a cop and as a citizen, I'm damned sick and tired of seeing scum like him get away with murder!" Clint Eastwood was Dirty Harry. John Ritter is Mellow Harry. And I'm just unamused.