Picks and Pans Review: Love & War

updated 10/05/1992 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/05/1992 01:00AM

CBS (Mondays, 9:30 P.M. ET)

B

In this sitcom from Murphy Brown creator Diane English, Jay Thomas plays a truculent, sardonic New York City newspaper columnist. Then, into the dingy bar where he and his cronies (Joel Murray, Suzie Plakson and John Hancock) hang out. wanders a classy uptown lady (L.A. Law's Susan Dey). After a few double vodkas, she proceeds to buy the joint and take it upscale.

Even though Thomas and Dey go together like pickles and grapefruit juice, they immediately start bungling their way into a relationship. Thomas shines in a slightly kinder variation of his recurring role on Murphy Brown as Jerry Gold. Dey has almost no comedic touch. (Lest we forget, even on The Partridge Family she was the straight girl.) But her awkwardness isn't insurmountable. After all, Candice Bergen was spectacularly stiff through the first seasons of Murphy Brown.

Slick and often witty, this is a show with its high beams on. But the device of having Dey and Thomas directly address the camera isn't the only false note struck. The characters are thin, and the chemistry doesn't cook. Still, the brassy Love & War fits into CBS's Monday-night lineup like a missing jigsaw puzzle piece.

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