"I'm a Big Girl Now" has the premise of a standard domestic sit-com, but it is spiced up, if that is the phrase, with charmless smarm and L.A. situational ethics. The ABC comedy, premiering at 8:30 tonight on Channel 7, marks the return of Danny Thomas to prime time and another journey into jaundice by the chronically overextended Susan ("Soap") Harris.
It's hard to imagine a television program that more royally deserved the express lane to Palookaville.
Diane Canova plays a divorced mother with a stock smarty-pants kid (Rori King) and a stock bellowing papa (Thomas). The premiere has her dating a man Pops insists is married, but most of the joke situations are just more of writer/producer Harris' coarse, absurdist, derivative irreverencies:
Pops' wife ran off with his business partner after 34 years of marriage, leaving him only a note in his underwear drawer for a goodbye.
Canova's boss is an oversexed woman who reveals that her latest boyfriend dressed in rubber and attacked her because "rubber excites him."
The boss says she received a "cheddar cheese manger" from her son one Christmas: "It was lovely. I had Joseph on a cracker."
A doctor is greeted with, "So, anybody die today?"
When it appears that Pops may have wandered off and perhaps perished, his inconvenienced son growls, "I need a dead father now, with what I've got going on in my life."
Pops confesses he went to and enjoyed a porno movie. Cute-brat little girl asks, "Mom, can I go see 'American Gigolo'?"
Yes, there are a lot more yawns than laughs in this one, especially when it's time for Author's Message, the old Me-Me-Me line about "I need my life, my own life" and "I've got to run my own life." This is what passes for socially redeeming value nowadays, but even by the terminally relaxed standards of television, "Big Girl" could not possibly pass for class.