Picks and Pans Review: Nearly Departed

updated 04/10/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/10/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Mon., April 10, 8:30 P.M. ET)


No question this new, Topper-like sitcom has its wacky charm, thanks to the frantic antics of former Monty Python member Eric Idle as Grant Pritchard, a stuffy Chicago college professor. The prof and his lovely wife, Clare (Caroline Mc Williams), are ghosts, having recently been eighty-sixed from this world when their car was hit by a falling rock. For reasons not explained, the Pritchards, who are British, are forced to remain in their suburban Chicago house with its new bluecollar owners, the Dooleys. Natch the Dooleys (Stuart Pankin as Dad, Wendy Schaal as Mom and Jay Lambert as their son) can neither see nor hear the Pritchards. But gosh! Dotty old Grandpa (Henderson Forsythe) can. Despite the inanity of this half-hour sitcom, you can't help but laugh at some of the audacious, off-the-wall dialogue about being dead, such as, "At least we have our health." A scene at the Motor Vehicle Department, with Idle acting out the letters on an eye chart, is euphorically silly. The show isn't heaven and isn't hell, just somewhere in between.

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