The show that follows it, "Hello, Larry," at 9:30 on Channel 4, has none of these qualities. It has no qualities at all, and it is so tactlessly smirky-cirty that down a drain is too good a place for it to go.
New NBC President Fred Silverman said he wasn't going to try to get high ratings with sexy shows. With "Hello, Larry," we have caught him on a whopper. It's not that the show is heavy-laden with jiggling female anatomies; it's the program's leeringly lubricious obsession with cheap sex jokes. "Hello, Larry" is in living snickervision.
Tandem Productions stole the concept from its own "One Day at a Time," only this time it's a divorced father, played in one idiotic flabberghasted gape by McLean Stevenson, who's trying to raise two teen-age daughters, and also host a phone-in radio talk show in Portland, Ore. The premiere, written by Dick Bensfield and Perry Grant, finds the 14-year-old daughter wondering whether to "go all the way" with her 15-year-old boyfriend.
The script is so dogged in its eyerolling and euphemism that one aches to hear just one of the Supreme Court's seven dirty words in the simple decent interest of honesty. Instead we get references to "the big s-e-x," to indulging in "you know," and to the unseen boyfriend's being "hot to trot," "juicy" and "ready to swim upstream." There is also a panoply of underwear jokes -- included are strached panties and padded bras -- and the show opens with the younger daughter imploring that she be allowed to wear a T-shirt featuring two clutching hands across her breasts and the legend, "Feel free."
When dad says no, she asks, "Would you want me to have the only chest in school that nobody stares at?"
At the last minute, the writers throw in that aching L.A. truism about believing in oneself in the hopes it will pass for a moral. It does not, and "Hello, Larry" does not pass for entertainment, either.