Picks and Pans Review: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Syndicated (check local listings)
This Disney production, which premiered in the fall, is sort of a weekly sequel—a syndicated series based on the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie franchise (including Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves). It sounded under whelming until we gave the show a chance. Honey, it's funny.
Peter Scolari (Newhart) is most engaging in the Rick Moranis role of Wayne Szalinski, the wonky but nice scientist whose crazy inventions (the Shrink Ray, the Time Hopper, the Cloud Buster) wreak havoc in his suburban household. His lawyer wife, Diane (Barbara Alyn Woods), treats Wayne with amused tolerance except when his misadventures turn into major disasters. Wayne's 16-year-old daughter Amy (Hillary Tuck) regards Dad as something of an embarrassment, while Nick (Thomas Dekker), his scholarly-looking 10-year-old, is more of a kindred spirit. Somehow the family relationships retain an element of realism no matter how fantastic the plots become. The series may be accused of overusing the time-travel device, but the laughs are definitely worth the trip when Wayne befriends a prissy space alien in 1864 Colorado and when he dines on "tournedos of yak" with 10th-century barbarians. As on so many shows, the dialogue is crammed with media jokes, but the writers know we know what they're doing. "Nothing adds zip to a comedy like smug pop-culture references," Wayne reminds Diane after citing Back to the Future Ill. Although there's more creativity here than a half-hour sitcom could hold, the hour-long episodes tend to wear thin after 45 minutes. Scientific solution: Shrink the time period.
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