The cliches are as thick as some of the characters’ heads in this uneven buddy sitcom that’s one of the new series of the United Paramount Network. “Pig Sty” resembles an offering of the Fox weblet, and is presumably UPN’s attempt to land fans of the Bundys and the Simpsons.
Set in midcity Manhattan, the sitcom centers on the efforts of five disparate roommates to get along in a tiny apartment.
There’s the good-natured roommate, Randy (Brian McNamara), an aspiring writer who tends bar; the mannerless, John Belushi-esque twit, Cal (David Arnott); the unassuming, spineless, go-with-the-flow P.J. (Timothy Fall); the swarthy Johnny (Matt Borlenghi), who think’s he’s God’s gift to the fairer sex; and farm-boy Joe, aka Iowa (Sean O’Bryan), who comes to the big city to make a difference by doing his residency in an inner-city emergency room.
Add to the mix a curvy building manager named Tess (Liz Vassey), an aspiring actress who serves up hefty one-line doses of emasculating humor to Randy’s clumsy flirting, and a golden retriever named Luke, who never seems to get walked, and the writers have all potential humor sources covered.
Series preem pits new arrival Iowa against Cal, a backstabbing ad exec, as the two vie for the last bedroom after Johnny moves out.
But Johnny apparently can’t handle commitment after he moves in with his girlfriend. His return to the fold forces either Cal or Iowa out of the bedroom and into the walk-in closet.
Standouts include McNamara, who serves as both den mother and life observer, and O’Bryan, who deftly switches from farm boy to cunning city dweller without missing a beat.
While creators/writers Dan Staley and Rob Long — the pair were co-exec producers on “Cheers”– give their characters the occasional really funny line, it’s probably not enough to sustain interest among viewers, and “Pig Sty” can expect a significant tune-out rate when the frat-house crowd has to study for finals.