Filmed at Universal City Studios by Big Phone Prods. in association with Universal Television. Created, written and executive produced by Judd Pillot & John Peaslee; producer, Marica Govons; director, James Widdoes; associate producer, Penny Segal; coordinating producer, Erin Wilkey; director of photography ( Transplant “The Brady Bunch” to the Upper West Side of Manhattan and you have some idea of the basic groundplan of “Something So Right.” Newlyweds Mel Harris (“thirtysomething”) and Jere Burns (“Dear John”) have three previous marriages and as many kids between them. Carly’s a successful caterer who still believes in the possibility of romance. Jack’s a mellow high school teacher except on the subject of his beautiful teenage daughter (Marne Patterson), who has set the hormones of her new stepbrother (Billy L. Sullivan) raging. A younger stepsister doesn’t like suddenly having to share her room, and is considering her wealthy, feckless father’s offer of her own space. When one of the children reels off the various hyphens slated to put in an appearance at an upcoming family gathering, it’s enough to make your head spin.
“So we’re not the Waltons,” Carly deadpans.
Gooey Jack and Carly are constantly being caught in the clutch by one disgruntled child or another. But it’s all such mushy treacle that it’s hard to sympathize for long. Would Carly really mistake a distant Don’t Walk sign for the last glimpse of a sunset? This is a show that reduces a wonderful character actor like Bill Macy to a walk-on about replacement body parts. Empathic homeless people and sweet schizophrenics doubtless wait in the wings.
The “Waltons” reference is a tipoff: Writers Judd Pillot and John Peaslee sprinkle the dialog with TV references designed to have Boomer appeal. In the first episode there were nods to “Lassie” and “Leave It to Beaver,” as well.
James Widdoes’ direction lacks any inspiration, and so do the performances. Despite its urbane milieu, “Something So Right” is meatloaf and mashed potatoes comfort food that feels a little leaden after a modest portion.