Picks and Pans Review: Home Fires
From the makers of St. Elsewhere comes this impacted summer sitcom, which is excruciating as often as it is amusing.
Michael Brandon is the father, stressed out by, among other things, his college-age daughter's relationship with her boyfriend, particularly their sleeping arrangements. The daughter is played by Nicole (Charles in Charge) Eggert. Kate Burton, Richard's daughter, plays the mother, made neurotic by, among other things, her own consistently critical mother (Alice Hirson). Jarrad Paul plays the 14-year-old car-crazy, hormonally dazed son.
This aims to be a sharper take on the Family Ties premise: the dynamics within a family whose parents participated in the hippie era. But the result is too often stagy and artificial. Even the laugh track sounds hesitant, as if it isn't quite sure when to erupt. You too may have trouble on that score with exchanges like this one: Mom: "You eat that, you'll get cancer." Son: "Mom, you say that about everything I eat. Based on your knowledge of carcinogens, there won't be any boys alive after the age of 16." NBC gives the show a scattershot introduction. It then airs the night after its debut at the same time before moving into its regular slot, Saturdays at 9:30 RM. ET.