The first episode of “Getting By” in its new Saturday slot reunites “Laverne and Shirley” co-stars Cindy Williams, David L. Lander and Michael McKean. Results are terrific — trio work like the veteran team that they are — but the McKean and Lander characters are unlikely to return.
Sid Smollen (Lander) and Dirk Clearfield (McKean) are partners in a company marketing products through a pyramid sales scheme; they soon have Cathy (Williams) investing her $ 2,000 savings for a garageload of “miracle cleaner” Omni XL. Though Cathy’s roommate Dolores (Telma Hopkins) initially resists, she’s pulled in, as well.
Show ends satisfactorily, but main appeal is watching Lander and McKean in motion as oily con men working through script credited to supervising producer Fred Rubin. As for Williams and Hopkins, it’s (like “Laverne and Shirley”) “I Love Lucy” all over again, only with kids and black & white angle. Subplot involves Dolores’ progeny (Deon Richmond, Merlin Santana) racing around the house, camera in hand, trying to catch Cathy’s daughters (Ashleigh Blair Sterling, Nicki Vannice) in embarrassing situations for local wacky video show.
But comedy isn’t totally generic: When questioned as to how far he’ll go for a prize video, cameraman replies: “Have you ever seen ‘Geraldo’? Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy.”