Picks and Pans Review: Union Square
This series has ratings others would envy (five Top 10 finishes in its first six weeks), but the numbers should come with a footnote: "reclined in Thursday-night hammock between Friends and Seinfeld." It's questionable whether Union Square has the strength to stand on its own feet. Set in a New York City diner, it tries to be Cheers without a liquor license. Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter maintains the right air of weary disdain as owner Vince, and Jim Pirri is amusingly conceited as cook Jack, an ex-con Don Juan. Spacey waiter Albie (Jonathan Slavin) delivers the dumb throwaway lines no sitcom can do without, and waitress Carrie (Christine Burke) serves side orders of sarcasm. The eatery's main weakness is its regular clientele. Real estate agent Suzanne (Harriet Sansom Harris) makes you itch to move one stool away. Gabby (Constance Marie), the aspiring actress, initially struck Carrie as "too perky," and that snap judgment has held up only too well. The character of Michael (Michael Landes), a would-be playwright given to whining, will be phased out later in the season. Though Michael seems smitten with Gabby, the show figures to be funnier if she succumbs to Jack's less intellectual charm.