Picks and Pans Review: Kristin

UPDATED 06/04/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/04/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Creator-executive producer John Markus says this new sitcom is "unusual television" in that its female central character is "principled," "virtuous," "right-minded" and averse to sex outside marriage. It seems perverse to point out that Kristin is not entertaining. Kristin Chenoweth (a Tony Award winner for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) stars as Kristin Yancey, a frighteningly perky Oklahoman who comes to New York City with hopes of a Broadway career but takes a day job as personal assistant to Tommy Ballantine (Jon Tenney), a playboy real estate developer described by NBC as "Donald Trump-esque." Tommy has an embarrassingly well-publicized history of sexually harassing female aides, so his right-hand man Aldo (Larry Romano) hires Kristin based on her minister's assurance that she has a strict no-shenanigans policy. (Did we mention that Markus promises "realistic, relatable stories"?) But Kristin has sex on the brain nonetheless. In the June 5 pilot, Tommy tests Kristin's defenses, and she has a strangely encouraging way of discouraging him. "A person's spirituality is very connected to their sensuality," she says. "And I'm extremely spiritual." Hallelujah, baby. In an upcoming episode, office sexpot Santa (pronounced "Sahnta" and played by Ana Ortiz) has thrilling intercourse with a construction worker on an exposed beam 60 stories up. Well, we don't actually see this difficult act, but there's a lot of tiresome talk about it. Her character's musical-theater side will give Chenoweth a welcome excuse to sing and dance now and then. Still, the breakdown on Kristin is 99 percent contrivance, 1 percent comedy. Bottom Line: Don't feel guilty about changing channels

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