Picks and Pans Review: Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss
updated 08/08/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/08/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
I was amazed that one little show could be so irredeemably pointless, plotless, meandering, egocentric, wimpy, twitty and unfunny. But then I read the network's two-page biography of writer, narrator and co-star Jean Shepherd, which said that he "first gained a reputation as a gifted monologist." Ah, that explains it all—a monologist, another Garrison Keillor or Spalding Gray, a faux comic with a vision of America as a quaint and precious boutique. Here Shepherd gives us his version of a typical vacation in the heartland a few decades ago. James B. (Hill Street Blues) Sikking and Dorothy (Mama's Family) Lyman, as the parents, take teen Jerry (Stand by Me) O'Connell and his whining little brat brother on a long, long drive. The cast is fine, but the writing is filled with clichés and lazy, used observations. Does Shepherd really think he is the first writer to make gags about pink flamingos in front yards?