Picks and Pans Review: University Hospital

updated 02/20/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/20/1995 01:00AM

Syndicated (Check local listings)

C+

What comes to mind when you think of the nursing profession? Hot-tub sessions? Quickies in empty operating theaters? Easy access to controlled substances? No? Well, those kinds of things are what mega-producer Aaron Spelling thinks of. And that's why his mansion in Southern California overlaps three counties while you're wondering if you can make it until summer without replacing the worn-out tires on your car.

Except for that deceptively clinical title, this show about four student nurses is a carbon copy of Nightingales, a short-lived, Spelling-produced NBC series from 1989 about a flock of student nurses who were always shucking their uniforms. University Hospital, you see, is a soap opera with real soap. Once an episode you get a gratuitous shower scene, or—for a healthy alternative—a Lycra-sheathed yoga stretching interlude. Yet the four young leads (Hudson Leick, Rebecca Cross, Alexandra Wilson and Hillary Danner) bring a degree of commitment to this flimsy material that lends it a surprising vitality.

The medical procedures are few and far-fetched. In one episode, a patron in a local deli started choking on his lunch. An orderly from the hospital immediately jumped up and performed an emergency tracheotomy using a butter knife and a drinking straw. Seemed a little overzealous to me. Of course, I'm not a trained orderly.

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