TV Reviews / THE NEW SEASON : Nerd on the Loose in Fox’s ‘Great Scott!’

The doorbell rings at the Melrod residence. When 14-year-old Scott (Tobey Maguire) opens the door, his eyes almost pop out of his head, for standing there is Carolyn Cole, a tall, curvy, beautiful classmate he has long ogled from afar but never had the courage to speak to.

She eyes him lustfully. “Is there some spot here where we can go and make out?”

Scott’s joy abruptly ends when Carolyn is suddenly supplanted by reality. Instead of his secret lady love delivering kisses, a stranger delivering laundry now fills the doorway.

If only “Great Scott!” were as great as some of its teen hero’s daydreams. Instead, this Fox comedy, premiering at 7 p.m. Sunday on Channels 11 and 6, is difficult to endure even for half an hour. Its creative filming and few laughs (there are a couple of big ones) are eclipsed by the grating spinelessness of Scott and the cartoonishness of his over-protective parents (Ray Baker and Nancy Lenehan).

The premiere finds Scott somehow wangling a date with Carolyn, only to self-destruct when he imagines that his smothering mother is following their cab. After watching the resulting chaos, you’re convinced this kid needs a leash more than a love. It’s a toss-up whether Scott or the show is a bigger nerd.