Mr. Rhodes

Filmed in Los Angeles by NBC Studios in association with Universal Television. Created by Jennifer Heath, Mark Brazill, Peter Noah; executive producers, Noah, Brazill, Heath, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky; supervising producer, Eric Cohen; produced by Gina Scheerer; written by Cohen; directed by Ted Wass; producer, Michele J. Wolfe; creative consultant, Bill Bryan; associate producer, Toti Levine; story editors, Andrew Reich, Ted Cohen; director of photography (Panaflex cameras and lenses), George La Fountaine; production designer, David Sackeroff; editor, Jay Scherberth; unit production manager, Steve Burgess; casting, Megan Branman; music, Mark Heyes. Cast: Tom Rhodes, Farrah Forke, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jessica Stone, Ron Glass, Lindsay Sloane, Shaun Weiss, Alexandra Holden, Travis Wester. In his second outing of the season , Mr. Rhodes (slow-take standup Tom Rhodes) has to contend with a plain Jane student (her name is Zoey, of course, and she's played by Lindsay Sloane) who develops a crush on him, and the arrival of Dani (Alexandra Holden), the jailbait daughter of a Sharon Stone-type movie star. The ultraprivileged Harkin Academy is a setting far from the roiling uncertainty of "Dangerous Minds." In fact, it's a different universe. Harkin is overseen by a moronic, butt-kissing headmaster (Stephen Tobolowsky). The faculty lounge breeds contempt for students and lust among colleagues, while Mr. Rhodes' classroom is the setting for literary exegesis at a level not seen on TV since the days of "Dobie Gillis." No wonder: Apparently Mr. Rhodes' sole credential for the job is that he is the author of a novel that won some prizes and sold 84 copies. He has long hair, which is enough to make the girls and the women go weak in the knees, and he is given to pronouncements along the lines of, "being a teenager is such a widely acknowledged bummer of a gig" that appear to endear him to students like Zoey. The first two installments of "Mr. Rhodes" suggest that the producers know a show about preppie boarding school students stands not a chance of success. So they have loaded up the show with plenty of sexual innuendo and slapstick humor, all of it second-rate and instantly tiresome. Rhodes himself has a style of delivery about half a beat behind the action that on TV comes across like a soundtrack always out of synch. Tobolowsky, a wonderful comic actor (he could have been his generation's Richard Deacon, who played producer Mel Cooley on the "Dick Van Dyke Show" with the endearing self-confidence of the truly dim) is criminally wasted here. So are Jessica Stone, Farrah Forke and Ron Glass as Harkin faculty lounge lizards. Direction (by Ted Wass in this episode) is as uninspired as supervising producer Eric Cohen's writing. Jeremy Gerard

Filmed in Los Angeles by NBC Studios in association with Universal Television. Created by Jennifer Heath, Mark Brazill, Peter Noah; executive producers, Noah, Brazill, Heath, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky; supervising producer, Eric Cohen; produced by Gina Scheerer; written by Cohen; directed by Ted Wass; producer, Michele J. Wolfe; creative consultant, Bill Bryan; associate producer, Toti Levine; story editors, Andrew Reich, Ted Cohen; director of photography (Panaflex cameras and lenses), George La Fountaine; production designer, David Sackeroff; editor, Jay Scherberth; unit production manager, Steve Burgess; casting, Megan Branman; music, Mark Heyes. Cast: Tom Rhodes, Farrah Forke, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jessica Stone, Ron Glass, Lindsay Sloane, Shaun Weiss, Alexandra Holden, Travis Wester. In his second outing of the season , Mr. Rhodes (slow-take standup Tom Rhodes) has to contend with a plain Jane student (her name is Zoey, of course, and she’s played by Lindsay Sloane) who develops a crush on him, and the arrival of Dani (Alexandra Holden), the jailbait daughter of a Sharon Stone-type movie star. The ultraprivileged Harkin Academy is a setting far from the roiling uncertainty of “Dangerous Minds.” In fact, it’s a different universe. Harkin is overseen by a moronic, butt-kissing headmaster (Stephen Tobolowsky). The faculty lounge breeds contempt for students and lust among colleagues, while Mr. Rhodes’ classroom is the setting for literary exegesis at a level not seen on TV since the days of “Dobie Gillis.” No wonder: Apparently Mr. Rhodes’ sole credential for the job is that he is the author of a novel that won some prizes and sold 84 copies. He has long hair, which is enough to make the girls and the women go weak in the knees, and he is given to pronouncements along the lines of, “being a teenager is such a widely acknowledged bummer of a gig” that appear to endear him to students like Zoey. The first two installments of “Mr. Rhodes” suggest that the producers know a show about preppie boarding school students stands not a chance of success. So they have loaded up the show with plenty of sexual innuendo and slapstick humor, all of it second-rate and instantly tiresome. Rhodes himself has a style of delivery about half a beat behind the action that on TV comes across like a soundtrack always out of synch. Tobolowsky, a wonderful comic actor (he could have been his generation’s Richard Deacon, who played producer Mel Cooley on the “Dick Van Dyke Show” with the endearing self-confidence of the truly dim) is criminally wasted here. So are Jessica Stone, Farrah Forke and Ron Glass as Harkin faculty lounge lizards. Direction (by Ted Wass in this episode) is as uninspired as supervising producer Eric Cohen’s writing. Jeremy Gerard

Mr. Rhodes

(Mon. (30), 8:30-9 p.m., NBC)

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