Led by the easygoing performance of Nancy McKeon, “Can’t Hurry Love” offers a comfortable take on a well-worn theme — the dating exploits of a single girl in the city. The downside is it’s too comfortable, and the strong debut could be as good as it gets. Show is likely to stay on the schedule but won’t provide CBS with a ratings jolt. Annie O’Donnell (McKeon) is 28, works at a job placement agency in Gotham and hasn’t had any luck with men. She has minor hang-ups (like calling her different-sized breasts Thelma and Louise), but otherwise she’s pretty normal, which makes her a refreshingly odd bird.
Her batch of friends is always nearby. Mariska Hargitay gives an energetic turn as Didi, the lusty best friend living across the hall. Co-workers include the oversexed Roger (Louis Mandylor) and the very married Elliot (David Pressman, who’ll be replaced by Kevin Crowley in subsequent episodes).
Annie meets a handsome, Ghandi-quoting cop on the subway. The date fizzles when Annie, who’s on a first-name basis with the pigeons outside her office window, learns he hunts doves.
Creator Gina Wendkos’ script is pretty cavalier about sex, attesting to the endangerment of the family hour. Annie’s ready to jump in the sack, and Didi’s quick to provide condoms. But it’s light and funny, with a nice sequence on mating rituals and one nasty Clinton joke, and there are actually some delivery-proof lines. The sappy message is clear but not excessive.
Director James Widdoes handles the crucial date segments well, so episode is strongest when it counts. Perhaps it’s just coincidental that all three male characters have peculiar hairdos.
“Can’t Hurry Love” will make some sensible girls want to move to the big city. Its charm — and maybe its Achilles heel — is that it doesn’t try too hard.