Picks and Pans Review: The Loop

UPDATED 03/27/2006 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/27/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

COMEDY

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

COMEDY

This is really two separate sitcoms connected by a thin thread that should've been snipped. The better half, set in a struggling airline based in Chicago, is about a smart but overwhelmed new executive. Sam (Bret Harrison) looks young enough to have gone to business school with Frankie Muniz. He scrambles around with a nervous, rather pathetic smile while being barked at by the boss (Philip Baker Hall, who's very good playing a captain of commerce without all his marbles). He's also constantly hit on by another, middle-aged executive (Mimi Rogers, looking lean, cruel and bemused). The whole thing has a enjoyable jumpy bluntness to it. Then there's the other half.

Sam goes home to a house he shares with an older, lank-haired brother who can't hold a job and a beautiful med student who doesn't realize that Sam loves her. What original characters! They all spend a lot of time going out and getting drunk, then Sam straggles back to the office and somehow survives another day. But wouldn't Sam have moved out long ago? What junior executive ever took John Belushi as a role model?

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