Nothing could be less original than a sitcom about a quartet of women working together, but sprightly execution and an appealing cast put a little polish on that musty premise. While “Hot Properties” doesn’t generate big guffaws, there’s a breezy quality to it that makes for good company at what’s mercifully a lower decibel level than its lead-in or the WB’s competing “Living With Fran.” ABC struck out in this timeslot last season, but this new occupant belongs in the “Hope & Faith”-adjacent neighborhood a helluva lot more than “Complete Savages” ever did.
Series features nifty chemistry between Gail O’Grady — exhibiting solid comedy chops post-“American Dreams” — as the proprietor of a real-estate business and her colleagues: “Mad TV’s” Nicole Sullivan as a smartass, lovelorn associate and Latin star Sofia Vergara (“Chasing Papi”) as Lola, the face and figure capable of launching several thousand posters.
Lola, alas, spent 10 years married to a gay man and is woefully “gaydar” challenged, so much so that she keeps meeting guys who notice her shoes before her, er, more prominent assets. Marveling at Lola’s curvaceous physique, Chloe (Sullivan) can only marvel that rather than envy her, “You just have to tip your hat to God and say, ‘Nice job.’ ”
Premiere features a young woman (Christina Moore) seeking a new home, only to discover through the gals’ firsthand experience that her betrothed isn’t the waiting-for-marriage virgin she believes them both to be. The second half-hour previewed deals with Lola’s peculiar pet, a night of drunken female bonding and a visit by Chloe’s starched, disapproving mother, well played by “Desperate Housewives'” since-departed Christine Estabrook.
Series creator Suzanne Martin doesn’t stop with the women, adding a smarmy plastic surgeon (Stephen Dunham) and bemused shrink (Evan Handler) who share their office space and provide an extra comedic element. The former, for example, intuits that Lola is upset because he noticed “tears on her breasts.” Well, the eye does tend to kind of naturally go there.
Sullivan generally gets the best lines, which include drawing a distinction between “slutty” and “easy.” O’Grady, meanwhile, provides a solid center to it all, playing a 40-ish stunner married to a much-younger man — albeit one who’s thus far the Maris to her Niles, inasmuch as he’s conveniently absent through the first two installments.
Breakout status seems unlikely, but if simply remaining “Faith”-ful is the primary yardstick, then “Properties” could be destined for a long-term lease. Friday night is a bit of a fixer-upper for all the nets, but with “Hot Properties,” ABC has an undemanding new tenant that looks ready to move right in.