Picks and Pans Review: The Boys Are Back
The good news is that two cherished sitcom stars, Hal Linden (Barney Miller) and Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show), have returned. The bad news is that they chose this vacuous eyesore as their vehicle.
The premise: Linden is looking forward to his golden years. He's just about finished the boat in his driveway on which he plans to sail around the world. But not 10 minutes after the youngest of his and Pleshette's three sons has left for college, their two grown sons move back in. First comes out-of-work Mike (George Newbern) with his wife and two young kids. (They acquire a third tyke by the next episode.) Then comes slovenly Rick (Kevin Crowley), a bad cop with a drinking problem who has been thrown out by his wife. There follows endless wrangling over tee times, food, bed-wetting and carpools. (Thanks to Crowley's character, a few police jokes are sprinkled around, as when he races into the kitchen at breakfast, yelling, "Mom, have you seen my coroner's report?")
This sitcom goes heavy on the "sit" but somebody forgot to put in the "com." These domestic small potatoes are singularly unamusing. After two episodes, I still haven't heard anything resembling a funny line. Linden and Pleshette both have exquisite timing and deft delivery, but the scripts give them nothing to work with. It's like watching Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson fling a Ping-Pong ball back and forth to each other. Somebody please get these people a script.