Picks and Pans Review: Black Tie Affair

updated 05/31/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/31/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Saturdays, 10 p.m. ET)

B +

In this limited-run private-eye spoof, Bradley Whitford plays a San Francisco gumshoe following around the dashing founder of a New Age clothing catalog (John Calvin) at the behest of his jealous wife (Kate Capshaw). Whitford's obligatory voice-over commentary is more Seinfeld than Sam Spade: "Speaking of crime terminology, what the hell do they mean by 'forensics'? What exactly is a bunco squad? Police talk, I hate it."

The scripts tend to be on the precious and verbose side. However, the humor is fairly sophisticated, and the series is well played (particularly by Calvin). Also, this sitcom, created by Jay Tarses (The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd) doesn't have a moronic laugh track braying at you. The reluctant-detective conceit would be difficult to sustain over the long haul, but a baker's dozen episodes make for a light, cool summer treat.

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