Picks and Pans Review: Anything but Love

updated 02/11/1991 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/11/1991 01:00AM

ABC (Wednesdays, 9:30 P.M. ET)

B+

The networks aren't completely addle-headed. Sometimes when they drop a good show, they later revive it. NBC brought back its stand-up sitcom Seinfeld, CBS has more of its oddball Alaskan series Northern Exposure in the pipeline, and ABC has resurrected this often sparkling sitcom starring Richard Lewis and Jamie Lee Curtis.

In the retooled show, Bruce (Hill Street Blues) Weitz has joined the magazine staff as a "regular guy" columnist. Joseph Maher's character, an elegant Englishman suffering through the indignity of reviewing television, is gone; apparently he cracked under the pressure of having to write about Candid Camera specials and the like. (Hey, it could happen.) More importantly, after a few fractional seasons of flirting, Lewis and Curtis are getting seriously romantic. (It will be March before they consummate, in a clever blackout-sketch episode.)

As they have discovered sex, so have the show's writers. The dialogue is appreciably saltier, especially Curtis's Cosmo-girl chats with best pal Holly Fulger. John (Hooperman) Ritter, who appeared last month as a bossy basketball coach on The Cosby Show, guest stars in the first three episodes as a suave photographer.

While the bits of physical shtick have improved, the stars still haven't gotten the knack of appearing relaxed (although Lewis is making progess). The writing, however, is as funny and snappy as ever.

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