Picks and Pans Review: What a Dummy

updated 11/19/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/19/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Syndicated (Check local listings)

C

A family inherits their great-great-uncle's steamer trunk, and with it comes a moving, talking ventriloquist's dummy with shocking orange hair. I know, I know, you're thinking this is a horror show. We're conditioned by Hollywood to expect a creature of that description to be a little monster chasing the kids around the house with a Skilsaw. No, this is a benign, wisecracking dummy. Unfortunately he's not as funny as he thinks he is. In fact all the jokes in this vaudevillian, ALF are stale.

Like many shows, Dummy is built around a teen star, in this case Stephen (Do You Know the Muffin Man?) Dorff. Orbiting around him are David Doty, Joshua Rudoy and Janna Michaels. Only Annabel Armour as the mom shows any comedic touch. Whenever there's something supernatural happening in a sitcom, whether it's a witch, a ghost or a talking dummy, there will always be a suspicious neighbor prowling around. In this case, the nosy parker is Kaye Ballard, whom we haven't seen on TV in a while, unless you count spaghetti-sauce commercials. Pity she chose to return in this bit o' piffle.

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