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Herman’s Head a Decent Proposal

Though it looked like a dopey idea in the beginning, "Herman's Head" has developed into a sharp, funny exploration of a universal condition -- what goes on in our minds. Besides the above-average writing, credit the chemistry of two separate casts that seem to get tighter with each season.

With:
Cast: William Ragsdale, Hank Azaria, Jane Sibbett, Yeardley Smith, Molly Hagan, Ken Hudson Campbell, Rick Lawless, Peter MacKenzie, Jason Bernard, Andrea Parker, Kirsten Holmquist.

Though it looked like a dopey idea in the beginning, “Herman’s Head” has developed into a sharp, funny exploration of a universal condition — what goes on in our minds. Besides the above-average writing, credit the chemistry of two separate casts that seem to get tighter with each season.

Herman (William Ragsdale), despite several near-promotions, remains an underpaid, single, twentysomething Manhattan researcher in a constant state of flux as one girl after another passes into, out of and back into his life.

He is surrounded at work by career-stalled cohorts — his compulsively womanizing best friend, Jay (Hank Azaria); the demanding yet avuncular boss, Mr. Bracken (Jason Bernard); gold-digging Heddy (played with relish by Jane Sibbett); and Louise (Yeardley Smith), one of the looniest space cases on TV.

Yet the show really takes off whenever it enters Herman’s brain, where his pompous Intellect (Peter MacKenzie), goody-goody Sensitivity (Molly Hagan), nerdish Anxiety (Rick Lawless) and Belushi-esque Lust (Ken Hudson Campbell) argue, scheme and shift alliances in a never-ending struggle for power.

But “A Decent Proposal” isn’t one of the sharper episodes, as writer/co-executive producer Mark Ganzel and director Greg Antonacci dust off an old premise — two people pretending they’re married in order to impress someone.

Heddy ropes Herman into the act so that she can one-up an old high school rival (Andrea Parker), with a predictably chaotic effect upon Herman’s social life. It’s the same old posing and lying that not even Herman’s inventive brain can enliven much.

What remains interesting is the simmering tension between Herman and Heddy.

Herman's Head a Decent Proposal

(Thurs. (16), 9:30-10 p.m., Fox)

Production: Filmed in Hollywood at Sunset Gower Studios by Witt/Thomas Prods. for Touchstone Pictures & Television. Executive producers, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, David Babcock; producers, Adam Markowitz, Bill Freiberger; co-executive producers, Mark Ganzel, Nina Feinberg; supervising producer, Michael B. Kaplan; director, Greg Antonacci; writer, Ganzel; production designer, Edward Stephenson; sound, William Kennedy III.

Crew: Music, Scott Gale, Rich Eames; title music, Mark Nilan.

Cast: Cast: William Ragsdale, Hank Azaria, Jane Sibbett, Yeardley Smith, Molly Hagan, Ken Hudson Campbell, Rick Lawless, Peter MacKenzie, Jason Bernard, Andrea Parker, Kirsten Holmquist.

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