"Park Place" is "Barney Miller" set in a legal aid clinic, and so its urban-jungle humor comes across as a bit bleary and derivative. The new CBS sitcom begins a brief run tonight at 8:30 on Channel 9, as the network continues to use April audiences as guinea pigs for shows that may return in the fall schedule. But sacred blue -- as Kermit the Frog might say -- who the heck cares?
Harold Gould is the Miller surrogate here, the centrifugal Old Reliable around whom the ostensibly lovable loonies cavort. It's supposed to be cute that he's forever peeping at a gorgeous tootsie in a window across the way, but it isn't. Among those in the ethnic smorgasbord cast is a black man in a wheelchair whose idea of an insult is to yell "myopic biped!" at a walking person in his way.
The premiere is enhanced by the warm-blooded performance of guest star Florence Stanley as Mrs. Rothman, who blithely informs the staff that she has murdered her husband. Writer Reinhold Weege tries to lead this plot into relevant pathos, but it doesn't quite work. The rest of "Park Place" does quite work, but only quite, and it's all too prefabricated by far.