By sandwiching “Caroline in the City” in the highly desirable spot between “Seinfeld” and “ER,” NBC obviously has high hopes for the frosh sitcom — with good reason. Lea Thompson turns in a winning perf as cartoonist Caroline in this sophisticated yet loopy sitcom. “Caroline” should hold on to the “Must-see TV” crowd and deliver more female demos to the already heavily female-skewing “ER.”
Caroline draws the highly successful “Caroline in the City” comic strip (which is very similar to the real-life strip “Cathy”). She draws on her life experiences and friends for ideas: sexually liberated neighbor Annie (Amy Pietz) , whose dating exploits help fuel the comic strip; on-again, off-again boyfriend Del (Eric Lutes); and Richard, the comic strip colorist that she has just hired (Malcolm Gets).
Pilot finds Caroline off again with Del, and he tells her that he has a hot date. She lies and tells him, of course, that, gee, she’s got a hot date, too, and of course, both couples are skedded to eat at the same restaurant.
But what’s fresh and entertaining is that the snappy, smart dialogue and the empathetic characters transcend the old chestnut of a plot, winning over the audience.
“Caroline’s” New York setting and attractive bunch of young professionals are a perfect fit for NBC’s juggernaut Thursday lineup. Thompson is winning and strikes a balance between totally together careerist and single woman searching for a mate.
As Richard, Gets does a fine job fleshing out what could be just a morose weirdo, grounding him with humanity. Pietz and Lutes round out the pro cast.
Vet director James Burrows keeps the pace zesty and light. Tech credits are tops.