Picks and Pans Review: Crumbs

updated 01/30/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/30/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Crumbs is a sitcom that might have been dreamed up by Dr. Phil as he listened to some woman's wrenchingly sad tale and idly thought how fun it'd be to turn on a switch and add a laugh track. This dysfunctional family sitcom with Fred Savage and Jane Curtin means well: Pick at those psychic scabs—a mother hobbled by a breakdown, an ex-husband who never goes away, a gay son with commitment issues, his estranged brother and a dead brother whose drowning haunts them all—and expose them to the salutary air of rude comedy. But it just doesn't work. It splutters. Curtin, as the mom, does a nice job balancing suburban-matron crispness and wacked-out unpredictability. Savage, as the gay son, is like a puppy confused by too much company. Which is perhaps understandable.


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