Picks and Pans Review: Titus

UPDATED 03/27/2000 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/27/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

FOX (Mondays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Welcome to Christopher Titus's TV therapy. In this new series based on his autobiographical stand-up comedy, Titus looks into the camera and complains continually about the malign influence of his alcoholic, Overbearing, oft-divorced father (Stacy Keach). Dad taught him to distrust happiness; Dad taught him to destroy relationships. "I spend a lot of time trying to unlearn things my father taught me," Titus says in the first episode (March 20). "Unfortunately I have a very slow unlearning curve." If all this sounds more painful than funny, you've hit on the show's main problem.

Ideas that might have served well in a stage monologue suffer from overelaboration onscreen. "She's got that Irish temper," Titus says of girlfriend Erin (Cynthia Watros). "But she's Northern Irish, so we don't fight—she just puts a bomb in my car." It hardly improves the joke to show an auto exploding and Erin smiling malevolently. When Erin scores points in a quarrel, Titus pictures himself as a boxer being beaten to a pulp. In another episode, Titus imagines taking punches from a previous lover. Whether you lay the responsibility on the star or his Daddy Dearest, this is one punishing sitcom.

Bottom Line: Truth hurts too much

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