"Men Behaving Badly" is strictly for undiscriminating viewers, but then NBC seems to have cornered the market on them anyway. A crude comedy that thinks flaunting its crudeness will make it satirical, or something, the show was obviously inspired by the likes of "Dumb and Dumber" and "Beavis and Butt-head."
It pales in comparison to both of those. Indeed, it makes them look like recently discovered works of George Bernard Shaw. Even if it badly goes where no sitcom has ever quite gone before, it's still got the aroma of imitation and old-hattiness about it. NBC says it is "based on the hit British series of the same name," but surely something's been lost in the transatlantic translation.
Ron Eldard plays dumb Kevin and Rob Schneider plays dumber Jamie in the series, premiering at 9:30 tonight on Channel 4. They're two boobish roomies who cannot resist the appeal of their own worst instincts. Nor can the writers who threw this clammy stew together. Many jokes involve underpants, including an opening gag in which a pair, apparently unlaundered, is used to filter coffee that a young woman later drinks and calls tasty.
When a gorgeous blonde (Julia Campbell) moves in across the hall, the boys go through her things, including her underwear of course, and are thrilled to discover naked pictures of her as Outlaw Biker magazine's "bike bitch" of the month. Later, Kevin does a soliloquy comparing women to cats: "Moody, demanding, aloof, they act like they're doing you a favor when you want sex. Okay, I'm just talkin' about women now."
Schneider slimes into his role with glee, whereas Eldard has the decency to appear a little bit embarrassed. Justine Bateman, who's looking more and more like a young Suzanne Pleshette, brings some needed dignity, but you can't help wondering why the intelligent young woman she plays would hang around with these losers, unless she's got a masochistic streak wider than Lake Titicaca.
At one point, laughs are wrought at the expense of a lonely woman's tears. One of the punch lines later is, "How would you feel if your perineum tore in half?" Meanwhile, producer Matthew Carlson has the nerve to interject clips from old movies (most in the public domain, it appears), as was done weekly on that old HBO turkey "Dream On." Several times, for instance, we see Fredric March and Carole Lombard doing their famous bedroom battle from "Nothing Sacred."
Perhaps Carlson is saying nothing is sacred to him, either. The irreverence and political incorrectness are not really the problem here, though. The problem is, the show reeks. Townies'
Molly Ringwald deserves a sitcom as much as the next guy. Maybe more so. She's still got plenty of allure and mystique, even if her movie career has gone bust. But "Townies," the ABC sitcom premiering at 8:30 tonight on Channel 7, is beneath her, and probably beneath most viewers, too.
There's something naggingly depressing about the show, which plops Ringwald down in a small New England fishing town from which one assumes she would very much like to escape. She shares hopes and dreams and crises with gal pals, nicely played by Jenna Elfman and Lauren Graham, but the situations don't amount to much, and the show seems stranded somewhere between Mayberry and Beverly Hills.
For shock value, the writers include an early scene in which Ringwald invades a men's room because the lines for the women's room are too long. She and her pals are amazed that men urinate "in a trough." Graham's character, meanwhile, is getting married, and this brings about the predictable anxieties and misgivings.
At a diner that serves the same function as the restaurant in "Seinfeld" and the coffeehouse in "Friends," Ringwald frets about complications that have developed in the nuptials. The ever-funny, ever-reliable Conchata Ferrell, as a wisecracky waitress, says to her, "You're worried about your friends, aren't you, honey? I'd be worried too except, one, I'm working, and two, I don't give a rat's ass."
Unfortunately, for all Ringwald's appeal, many a viewer may feel the same way. The Drew Carey Show'
"The Drew Carey Show" returns for a second season with a certified blast tonight, a funny and fabulous pre-credits musical number, replete with go-go girls in cages and disco lighting, to the rock oldie "Five O'Clock World." It's not merely nuts, it's sweet, too. Sweet and nutty, in fact, pretty well describes the series.
Carey, playing just the plump and bespectacled sort of cluck he looks like, has made this show a dependable source of amusement, sometimes mild and sometimes wild. He plays the personnel director at a big department store, and tonight's episode, at 9:30 on Channel 7, is built around Evaluation Day, when he hands in critiques of his fellow employees.
Plied with flattery and muffins, he goes overboard to prove his independence when writing up his girlfriend Lisa, warmly yet acerbically played by Katy Selverstone. Meanwhile, all-out war has been declared between Drew and his hilarious nemesis Mimi (the awe-inspiring Kathy Kinney), she of the CinemaScopic girth and powder-blue eye shadow, and the practical jokes ricochet, for the most part, merrily.
Her funniest line, largely because of her very special delivery, is, "I used up all my sick days following Kiss on tour." At home, Drew has another problem to contend with: pants that "wrinkle funny" and "tent" when he sits down. It's bawdy, but it isn't dirty.
There is certainly nothing highfalutin or socially significant about "The Drew Carey Show," but it's proved itself a solid source of affable lunacy, week after week. Its return is welcome and cheering. CAPTION: Crude and cruder: Justine Bateman, Ron Eldard, Julia Campbell and Rob Schneider in "Men Behaving Badly," tonight on NBC. CAPTION: ABC's Drew Carey: Dependably sweet and nutty. CAPTION: Molly Ringwald tries on small-town life in ABC's "Townies."