Review: ‘Holding the Baby’

"Holding the Baby" is as lame as TV situation comedy gets without Pauley Shore somehow being involved. It plays up the idea that men are pretty much clueless about parenthood and women take it seriously only until a better deal materializes in the form of a hot sexual fling (particularly if it involves running off to Fiji). This is surely a fine message to be sending to the youth of America during the Sunday dinner hour.

“Holding the Baby” is as lame as TV situation comedy gets without Pauley Shore somehow being involved. It plays up the idea that men are pretty much clueless about parenthood and women take it seriously only until a better deal materializes in the form of a hot sexual fling (particularly if it involves running off to Fiji). This is surely a fine message to be sending to the youth of America during the Sunday dinner hour.

The flat, rhythmless pilot teleplay by exec producer Howard J. Morris introduces us to Gordon Stiles (Jon Patrick Walker), a guy buried in work and father to a 6-month-old bundle named Daniel. Yet despite his apparent upper-middle-class income, Gordon can’t seem to afford a nanny, so he takes the kid with him to work.

Gordie’s slacker/actor brother, Jimmy (Eddie McClintock) lives with him but is no help, bedding the baby’s pediatrician and then dumping her.

As the opener moves along under James Widdoes’ uneven direction, Gordon stumbles into a nanny when Kelly (Jennifer Westfeldt), who is interviewing for the firm’s receptionist post, proves to have a way with infants, not to mention spectacular legs. And we all know how important it is for a baby to be cared for by a big-time looker.

This “ThreeYutzes and a Baby” premise will play out over the mere few weeks that “Holding the Baby” is likely to survive on the Fox sked. The writing is forced. The actors likewise push way too hard. All of them, that is, except for Ron Liebman, a stranger in this strange land who is the show’s sole redeeming feature via his canny performance as a semi-unctuous boss.

The premiere wraps with the principals all standing around, tossing out pet names for baby excrement. Or were they simply talking about the show? Hard to tell.

Holding the Baby

(SITCOM; FOX, SUN. AUG. 23, 7:30 P.M.)

Production

Taped in Los Angeles by Howard J. Morris Prods. and Granada Entertainment USA in association with 20th Century Fox TV. Executive producers, Howard J. Morris, Rosalind Moore; co-executive producer, Scott Siegler; supervising producers, Brian Hargrove, Jack Kenny; producer, Jason Shubb; director, James Widdoes; writer, Morris.

Crew

Camera, Ken Lamkin; editor, Brent Carpenter (pilot), Andy Zall (series); music, Jonathan Wolff, Paul Buckley; production designer, David Sackeroff; sound, Pete San Filipo;casting, Julie Mossberg, Jill Anthony. 30 MIN.

With

Gordon Stiles ..... Jon Patrick Walker Kelly O'Malley ..... Jennifer Westfeldt Jimmy Stiles ..... Eddie McClintock Miss Boggs ..... Sherrie Shepherd Stan Peterson ..... Ron Liebman How does Fox plan to fight "60 Minutes" this fall? Well, it doesn't --- at least, not from 7:30-8 p.m. on Sundays, where the web has all but tossed in the towel with this glaringly unoriginal new comedy about a fast-track yuppie male struggling to raise a newborn son essentially on his own. Get this: His wife of six years just left him and their tiny offspring for a guy she met at a women's retreat. It's enough to make one yearn for the comparative hilarity of "The World's Scariest Police Chases."
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