Combine a black Mary Tyler Moore with the silly schemes of “I Love Lucy” and you’ve got “Hey Monie,” a new animated series debuting Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on Oxygen (thereafter, the show also will air on Saturdays at 1 p.m.).
This girl-buddies show chronicles the lives and loves of Monie, an African American professional woman in big-city America, and her best friend, Yvette. Monie for the most part plays the straight man, while Yvette gets most of the sassy lines. Flipping through a fashion magazine together, Yvette is full of quips like, “She’s wearing a pin-striped thong -- that’s how you know she’s going to work.”
In the premiere, Monie needs a new dress to wear to a fashion event she is covering for her PR firm, but she is short on funds. Yvette volunteers to make her a gown. Monie frets about whether her dress will ever materialize as she also tries to deal with the guilt dealt out by her grandmother, who laments that Monie never comes over for Sunday dinner. The episode reaches its climax in a funny dinner table scene at Granny’s house involving Monie and Yvette, a full gravy boat and a “No you didn’t! I’ll cut you!”
The banter between Monie and Yvette -- voiced by real-life best friends and Second City alums Angela Shelton and Frances Callier -- is at times hilarious, and the secondary characters are amusing, such as Chad, the confused downstairs neighbor who’s been known to wear “hippie man dresses,” and sleazy co-worker Luis, who pontificates about who qualifies as a supermodel.
The fact that the show is a cartoon just adds to the fun, although the visuals are straightforward and might be a bit more punchy if they sometimes strayed outside the box.
Monie doesn’t let any of these life complications get her down and emerges triumphant by the end of the episode, her friendship with Yvette intact. Girl, she’s gonna make it after all.