SYNDICATED-TV REVIEWS : PRIME-TIME LEAD-INS ON NBC: JOKE’S ON VIEWERS
The rich want to get richer. Not satisfied with success, NBC is taking the unusual step this season of deploying first-run syndicated comedies on the five stations it owns in the half hour immediately preceding prime time. They’re available here at 7:30 p.m. on KNBC-TV Channel 4, starting tonight.
The goal is to provide stronger lead-ins for NBC’s prime-time lineup. For the most part, however, the five series are absolute slugs, sitcoms for thumb suckers.
“Marblehead Manor,” Mondays. Slapstick comedy set in the silly household of silly millionaire Randolph Stonehill (Bob Fraser) and his silly wife, Hillary (Linda Thorson). They are surrounded by a silly staff. On the silly premiere, Rick the idiot gardener (Michael Richards) and Jerry the slow-witted chauffeur (Phil Morris) overhear Hillary speaking baby talk to the dog on the intercom, but think she’s speaking to Albert the butler (Paxton Whitehead). It’s that kind of show. Whitehead is a hoot as Albert, but in a lost cause.
“She’s the Sheriff,” Tuesdays. No more dumb blonde for Suzanne Somers. This time, in a switch, she’s Sheriff Hildy Granger in a comedy that could have been written by dumb blondes. Hildy takes over the sheriff’s job from her dead husband, much to the dismay of deputy Max Rubin (George Wyner), who tries to humiliate her. Being in “She’s the Sheriff” is humiliation enough. Here’s a show that starts slowly, but grows on you--like a wart.
“You Can’t Take It With You,” Wednesdays. Who would want to? Harry Morgan is Grandfather Martin Vanderhof, patriarch of a goofy family living under one roof. There’s his daughter, Penny (Lois Nettleton), and her husband, Paul (Richard Sanders), and their daughters, Alice (Lisa Aliff) and Essie (Heather Blodgett). And Mr. Pinner (Teddy Wilson) is their friend. Good cast, weak material. For starters, Alice tries studying at home to be a stockbroker, but can’t concentrate because the family KEEPS MAKING NOISE!!! Oh ho ho ho ho.
“Out of This World,” Thursdays. Parenting isn’t easy. Donna Garland (Donna Pescow) decides it’s time to tell her 13-year-old daughter, Evie (Maureen Flannigan), the truth about Evie’s absentee dad: “Evie, your father is an alien. He was here on a mission. We met. We fell in love. We got married. We blended life forms.” Sure. Meanwhile, you wonder about the life forms who wrote this. Flannigan is real cute, though, especially when using her super powers to freeze frame everyone at her birthday party, including her Uncle Beano (Joe Alaskey) and Mayor Applegate (Doug McClure).
“We Got It Made,” Fridays. An updated version of a series that ran on NBC four years ago, “We Got It Made” proves that being a laughingstock is not the same as being funny. Teri Copley plays Mickey MacKenzie, a live-in maid for strait-laced David Tucker (John Hillner) and imbecile Jay Bostwick (Tom Villard). The new Mickey has been upgraded to dumb from stupid, but still has problems coping. On the premiere, her attempt to stop her nail-biting through hypnosis backfires, resulting in the inevitable high jinks. This is TV at its most banal. Back from the original series are Villard and the ever-breathless Copley, who could make even Lady Macbeth sound like a manicurist.