Camped up with sexual innuendo played to the hilt, NBC’s “Rerun Show” slaps around vintage cornball sitcoms and elevates the kitsch factor in already kitschy fare. Premise is simple: Take a script from an old sitcom and have actors interpret exactly what’s written on the page. It’s doubtful Willis ever scored with a young lady on “Diff’rent Strokes” or that Blair was seen eating throughout “Facts of Life,” but it’s the interpretive aspect of “The Rerun Show” that supplies its kick.
Paul Vogt is a cross-dressing hoot as Mrs. Garrett in “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” his acting gracefully off the mark and his dialogue often inane. Where other actors simply exaggerate what viewers tend to remember about the characters — the macho posturing of Jo (“Facts”), Mr. Drummond’s choked baritone (“Strokes”) — Vogt takes the house mother to another level.
Garrett, for whatever bizarre reason, was a character in both shows, and Vogt plays her in the two episodes supplied for review — tonight’s preview remake of “Diff’rent Strokes” and Tuesday’s trashing of “Facts of Life.”
In “Strokes,” “The Rivals” episode is revisited in which a female classmate (Daniele Gaither) comes to study with Arnold (Candy Ford) and ends up seducing Willis (Don Reed).
In “The Facts of Life,” show duplicates its subject’s cheap production design and the actresses cardboard characters. In “Shoplifting,” the quartet of boarding school girls purloin a blouse for Mrs. Garrett for her birthday. Eventually, it becomes a case of mistaken identity that Vogt then twists into a slightly discreet discussion of sexual peccadilloes.
Gary Coleman appears in the “Facts of Life” seg, part of the stunt casting that runs throughout the six-show series. Danny Bonaduce returns to his TV clan in “The Partridge family” tonight; Marla Gibbs shows up on “The Jeffersons” as a sex therapist; David Faustino returns to the Bundys in “Married … With Children”; and Rerun himself, Fred Berry, appears on the “What’s Happening!!” remake.