Picks and Pans Review: That '80s Show

UPDATED 02/04/2002 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/04/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

FOX (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

"It was the music that made the decade," says a FOX press release for That '80s Show. So take a tip: If you paid more attention to Ronald Reagan than Duran Duran, you're probably not one of this new sitcom's target viewers.

Reagan did rate a mention in the so-so premiere (Jan. 23) of this sitcom—produced, not surprisingly, by the makers of That '70s Show—but he doesn't figure to be much discussed at the small San Diego record store that employs Corey (Glenn Howerton) and Tuesday (Chyler Leigh). "You're not punk, you're retro," aspiring singer-songwriter Corey told spiky-haired Tuesday with a sneer. "I was at a Sex Pistols concert while you were listening to the Bay City Rollers in your Barbie jammies." That's cold, but guess what? He's starting to dig her by episode 2. Their boss, Margaret (Margaret Smith), tends to make older music references, claiming close relationships with Jim Morrison and Creedence (as in Clearwater Revival). Though definitely retro, deadpan Margaret gets more laughs than her clerks.

The show is positively panting to establish that Sophia (Brittany Daniel), Corey's ex-girlfriend, has the hots for his sister Katie (Tinsley Grimes). You can almost hear the writers whisper, "Bisexuality—oh, wow." There's greater comic potential in the marketing strategies of RT (Geoff Pierson), Corey's sleazy dad.

Bottom Line: Hard to leg-warm up to

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