Apparently no one except Shelley Long risked originality in the long-delayed bow of her new sitcom. Program proves flippant with a penchant for thoughtless one-liners; it doesn’t set her up for much sympathy, but at least the persona — billed as “based on a character created by” the actress — is novel.
Pilot, directed in routine fashion by Barnet Kellman, offers Long as author-marriage psychologist Susan DeRuzza sharing an office suite with client-chasing divorce attorney Jack Harold (Treat Williams) and with sympathetic chiropractor Artie Cohen (George Wyner).
Receptionist Lynn (Kiersten Warren, in for the opener only), serves as a foil for Susan et al. Sound familiar?
Point of the pilot is that marriage counselor Susan can’t cope with her husband’s transgression. Susan’s married to Joey DeRuzza (Chris McDonald, showing a good comic streak), whom she discovers in the bedroom with another woman, a scene that plays OK.
Writers-creators Danny Jacobson and Norma Safford Vela develop the next Joey-Susan meeting in that reception area where Joey blabs to the assembled characters what’s been going on. Long does a good job as the prime character, and Williams proves himself adept as her virile opponent. Wyner’s Cohen displays top timing, but it’s McDonald who hits the comedy vein. Warren’s receptionist is OK; Ross Malinger is suitable as the young DeRuzza son.
New program, with six episodes filmed, should appeal to a more sophisticated audience than routine current sitcoms do, but its imitative qualities put it in competish with reruns of classic TV comedies, where it bites the dust.