An 'Abby' in need of some plot advice

Times Staff Writer

Dear Abby:

A troublesome situation has just surfaced, and we're in need of a sympathetic ear.

See, there's this new series debuting tonight, and like you, it's called "Abby." And like the people in your column, the characters have relationship problems. But a big part of their problem is the show they're in, and it's serious enough that a viewer can't help wondering if we're all going to make it together.

The star of the show is Sydney Tamiia Poitier, a stunning young actress who happens to be the daughter of screen legend Sidney Poitier. The character she plays, Abby, is a bright and ambitious TV producer of a Bay Area sports program. Her longtime live-in boyfriend in the show, Will (Kadeem Hardison), is funny and slickly charming, but he's also far too self-absorbed for his own good and, as Abby has begun to realize, for her own good too. That's where the sticky stuff begins to kick in.

The show is only minutes old when Abby decides that her relationship with Will has no future, and so she tells him that they're through.

Now, that's a tough enough situation for these two, but making things even worse is that they share the lease of a rent-controlled apartment in the midst of a tight San Francisco housing market, and so neither is about to give it up.

What follows are some amusing but predictable attempts by both sides to nudge the other out. Abby asks the anchorman of her sports show (Randy J. Goodwin as Max) to pose as a sleep-over date to ruffle Will's feathers, which Max is only too happy to do since he has a secret crush on her anyway. But Will is too much of a player to lose at this game, and before long he has company as well.

In between these efforts, Abby and Will set up camp in opposite bedrooms and try to carry on, yet they remain a bit unsure how to do so.

And as Tuesday's second episode wears on, the uncertainty of how long this contrived setup can remain fresh begins to weigh on viewers too.

Poitier, Goodwin and especially Hardison are all fun to spend time with, and Tangie Ambrose as Abby's sister, Jo, and Sean O'Bryan as the sports show boss, Roger, are solid too. It's the concept of the show that's already showing beads of sweat.

Any advice for us? Or is it all too much to be believed, even for a veteran like you? Anyway, thanks for listening, Abby.

-- Concerned in Los Angeles



The show premieres tonight at 9:30 on UPN, with the second episode airing Tuesday at the same time.

"Abby" will move into its regular day and time slot Jan. 14 at 9 p.m.

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