Review: ‘The George Carlin Show’

Filmed in Los Angeles by Main Sequence Ltd. and Sweet Freedom Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, George Carlin, Jerry Hamza, Sam Simon; producer, Michael Stanislavsky; director, Simon; script, Carlin & Simon; "Cheers" parallels are obvious, but "The George Carlin Show," created by Sam Simon, has its own ambiance. The Boston bar never had a bookmaker in regular attendance as does this series' New York working man's saloon -- The Moylan Tavern -- and Carlin's aging hipster character translates well to the sitcom stage. This is the comic without much of the acid that frequently flows in his standup routines. It's a half hour that's easy to take, and Carlin fans won't be disappointed.

Filmed in Los Angeles by Main Sequence Ltd. and Sweet Freedom Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, George Carlin, Jerry Hamza, Sam Simon; producer, Michael Stanislavsky; director, Simon; script, Carlin & Simon; “Cheers” parallels are obvious, but “The George Carlin Show,” created by Sam Simon, has its own ambiance. The Boston bar never had a bookmaker in regular attendance as does this series’ New York working man’s saloon — The Moylan Tavern — and Carlin’s aging hipster character translates well to the sitcom stage. This is the comic without much of the acid that frequently flows in his standup routines. It’s a half hour that’s easy to take, and Carlin fans won’t be disappointed.

George O’Grady (Carlin) has just quit his job as a cab driver when the episode opens, citing “creative differences”– management doesn’t want him to continue to wear his hair in a ponytail. What must be the world’s nicest bookie, “Broadway” Harry Rosetti (Alex Rocco), is looking to collect from O’Grady, and is willing to settle for his 27-inch Mitsubishi television set and some of his prized jazz albums.

Regulars include bartender Jack Donahue (Anthony Starke), who can barely make a martini; the wisecracking waitress without whom no bar (or sitcom set in an eatery) would be complete (Paige French as “Sydney Paris”); assorted barflies who may develop more personality in future episodes; and three characters who are introduced to O’Grady and others in this episode: out-of-his-element plastic surgeon Neal Beck (Christopher Rich); pet-store owner and prospective romantic interest Kathleen Rachowski (Susan Sullivan); and a Yorkshire terrier identified as “Dinky” who leads to several mild gay jokes based on the conceit that such a fluffy little bundle isn’t a “real man’s” pet.

Production designer Ed LaPorta has come up with nice sets for the bar and O’Grady’s walkup apartment, and d.p. Gregg Heschong gives the show a grainy, “New York” look. “Carlin” is lightweight, an attribute that doesn’t seem to have hurt “Seinfeld,” and characters are promising, but show may require more coddling than Fox is used to giving its other better comedies, like “The Ben Stiller Show” and “Bakersfield P.D.”

The George Carlin Show

Production

Fox, Jan. 16, 9:30 p.m.

Crew

Camera, Gregg Heschong; editor, Brian Roberts; sound, Bill Remhild; music, Chandler Travis, Bill Scheinman; production designer, Ed LaPorta. 30 MIN.

With

Cast: Carlin, Alex Rocco, Paige French, Anthony Starke, Christopher Rich, Susan Sullivan, Michael G. Haggerty, Phil Lamarr, L. Peter Callender, Leesa Bryte, Barry Zajac, Mike Walden, Paul Natier.
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