Picks and Pans Review: Dudley

updated 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CBS (Fridays, 8:30 p.m. ET)


This sitcom, a '90s version of Make Room for Daddy, stars Dudley Moore as a Manhattan cabaret pianist. The pilot kicks off with the most abysmal opening scene I can recall: When a drunken, loutish Congressman keeps interrupting one of Dudley's shows, the performer introduces the politician, mentions he's involved in a sexual harassment case with a 17-year-old, dedicates the next song to him and starts playing "Baby Love." The laugh track erupts as the fuming Congressman stumbles through the crowd to the exit.

It's downhill from there. Into Moore's carefree, chaotic bachelor existence steps his ex-wife from California (Joanna Cassidy) and their delinquent teenage son (Harley Cross). That sets off a chain of brittle, predictable gags about parenting. Cassidy says, "I just keep feeling he needs a strong male influence." Dudley ripostes, "That's a fantastic idea. We'll send him straight to your mother's." Lupe Ontiveros plays Dudley's non-English-speaking housekeeper, Max Wright (Alf) plays his manager, and Joel Brooks (My Sister Sam) is the owner of the Liaisons nightclub.

Usually I make it a policy not to review a series until I've seen several episodes. That's because pilots are often misleadingly good. But I'm making an exception here, because the rest of the shows couldn't possibly get worse than the pilot. Considering the talent involved, this is pathetic.

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