Picks and Pans Review: The Stones

updated 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

CBS (Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

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They replaced Becker with this? Suddenly I feel Ted Danson's carping was cut off too soon.

In the March 17 premiere of The Stones, Stan (Robert Klein) and Barbara (Judith Light) mark their 25th anniversary by informing their children that they plan to divorce. Daughter Karly (Lindsay Sloane), your basic slacker, doesn't seem to care. Son Winston (Jay Baruchel), a science grad student living with his folks, takes the split hard.

He needn't worry. By the end of the opener—after Winston brings home a date and she walks in on his parents makin' whoopee for old times' sake—it's decided that Stan will just move into the room over the garage. Divorce? This barely qualifies as separation. And Karly says she'll move back home to crowd the nest further.

It's a sitcom construct with little regard for reality, but that wouldn't matter much if the jokes were good. Big if. Here's Stan's reply when Karly suggests a "boob job" as a gift for Barbara: "Nah, you don't put new tires on a car you're not gonna drive anymore." Clearly it's up to Baruchel to make Winston's geekiness the main comic attraction. He works hard, but it's no go.

COMEDY

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