He: "I have an armoire in my vestibule." She: "You know how that feels." That would be a throwaway line for David Letterman, comedy height scaler that he is, but it's about as witty as "Goodnight, Beantown" gets.
The new series about a quarrelsome man-woman anchor team at a Boston TV station gets a trial outing on CBS starting Sunday night at 8 on Channel 9.
Bill Bixby, veteran of too many TV series to count--make that too many TV series, period--costars with Mariette (Polaroid) Hartley, who it turns out is only really amusing in 30 or 60-second-size bites. The divorce' she plays on "Beantown" comes across as a smart-alecky pain in the neck, not that it's any pleasure to contemplate week after week of Bixby looking exasperated by her spunky drive and dime-store feminism.
According to the premiere, written by A.J. Carothers and directed by Harry Winer, Bixby has long been the sole anchor on Boston's Channel 11 but his ratings have slipped to make the newscast, as a station executive (George Coe) tells him, "Number 3 in a three-station market." Channel 11 must be an NBC affiliate. So Hartley is imported to share anchoring duties. After the two have a quibble on the air about women's rights, vaguely, audience response is positive because, Bixby says, he and Hartley impress viewers as "two real people . . . with opinions and attitudes."
If they impress viewers of mythical Channel 11 that way, they may have more trouble with viewers of "Goodnight, Beantown," though to be slotted right after "60 Minutes" on CBS Sunday nights is like the ultimate Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. "Beantown" isn't execrable; it's just another trifling little TV bubble that doesn't try hard enough to rise to the surface.