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‘Boston Common’ Less Than Ordinary

TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC

What can you say about the comedy series “Boston Common"--getting a trial run on NBC--except there’s not much to say? Nor to laugh about.

Think of this as the Boston Hillbillies. The setting is the campus of a wee Boston college invaded by a sister and brother from small-town Virginia (read: Hicksville). And do they show those reserved New Englanders a thing or two.

Wyleen Pritchett (Hedy Burress) is enrolling as a freshman with the right attitude about higher learning (“Ah am gonna have a lot of sex in this place!”). And with her--because he has the car!!!--is her handyman big brother, Boyd (Anthony Clark), who not only decides to stay but also gets a job--oh, no!!!--in the student union where--can you believe it???--he can keep a close eye on his high-jinks-minded sibling and a swell-looking doctoral candidate (Traylor Howard) in Southern history.

Inevitably, of course, homespun triumphs over hoity-toity in this cloistered community of eggheads where Wyleen just wishes Boyd would stay out of her way so she can have fun. But he can’t. It’s in the script.

Yet another sitcom-transplanted stand-up comic (are any still standing-up outside of prime time?), Clark is occasionally witty as the softer-resonating Boyd. But every time the screechy Wyleen opens her mouth (which is often), you wish you had a couple of cream pies to throw. One at her, the other at the writers of this crock.

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* “Boston Common” premieres at 8:30 tonight on NBC (Channel 4).


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