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TV Reviews : ‘Anything but Love’ Has Wit, Brains, Good Time Slot

She’s rosy, he’s gloomy. To her the glass is half full, to him there’s no glass. She’s an aspiring writer, he’s already a prominent staffer on a Chicago magazine.

Do they fall for each other? Does Chicago have the Cubs?

“Anything but Love” is hardly unpredictable. Yet the premiere of this urbane ABC comedy (at 9:30 tonight on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42) is witty and pleasing enough to be interesting. The main characters are intelligent and amusing. Jamie Lee Curtis performs with confidence as Hannah Miller in her return to series TV after more than a decade (“Operation Petticoat”). And comedian Richard Lewis--following fellow stand-up comic Roseanne Barr in the ABC lineup--is very funny in spots as neurotic Marty Gold.

Hannah and Marty, a terrified flier, meet on a jet. She calms him down. In return, he tells her about an opening for a researcher at his magazine. She applies, showing her spunk and talent by overcoming a difficult obstacle placed in her path by the magazine’s tyrannical editor.

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At this point, your mind replays a memorable sequence from the premiere of the late, great “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” in which Mary interviews for an assistant producer’s job with WJM-TV news director Lou Grant.

“You’ve got spunk!” Lou says. As Mary begins to bask in the complement, Lou quickly adds: “I hate spunk!”

Well, that was genius. Hannah’s new boss, however, likes spunk. Does she get the job? Do the Cubs always fade in the stretch?

What “Anything but Love” lacks in initial boldness, it occasionally makes up for in sharp writing, as in Marty dropping in on Hannah--who lives in an isolated cabin with her father--and being surprised outside the place by the father carrying a hatchet.

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Marty: “I’m looking for the Miller family . . . but whatever you’ve done to them will be our little secret.”

Following the hit “Roseanne,” it’s unlikely that “Anything but Love” will be anyone’s little secret for long.


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