Picks and Pans Review: Bagdad Cafe
This gets my vote for oddest concept of the year.
Whoopi Goldberg and Jean Stapleton star in a sitcom based on the 1988 West German film of the same name, a bizarre cult hit. Goldberg runs a ramshackle restaurant and motel in the California desert. Stapleton hitchhikes into Bagdad after abandoning her husband in the dunes and soon makes herself indispensable.
James Gammon (in a washed-out but still fetching version of the role played by Jack Palance in the movie) is the grizzled café patron who falls hard for Stapleton.
Does this sound funny? Well, most of the humor is generated by Goldberg's tart tongue, as she plays a sort of Maude of the Mojave. The show has good chemistry among the major players and an unusual setting, but the writing needs to develop consistency and rhythm.