Gene Wilder, with his gentle, persuasive manner, and Hillary B. Smith of “One Life to Live,” as his wife Annie, play through a family sitcom in which, as parents of 4-year-old twin boys, they suffer the detachment willies. The kids are off to pre-school, but the accompanying traumas don’t amount to much, considering the sitcom’s facing Dr. Quinn across the channels. Show borders on delicate.
Creators/writers Barnet Kellman and Lee Kalcheim go for the gentle as Gene and Annie try bringing the family together in their New England home.
Ad man Gene plays with the kids when they’re obstreperous; Annie hugs them so they can’t get away. But when Gene meets an unannounced renovator (Cleavant Derricks) in the bathroom, there are indications the program may have a sharper future.
It’s not great humor, but director Kellman works the moment well enough. Less amusing are scenes in which Gene and his ad agency partners talk about their children.
Mild, 1950s-type sitcom, followed by “Empty Nest,” doesn’t present much competition for ABC’s Saturday movies or for the good CBS doctor. “Something Wilder,” despite the strong pairing of Wilder and Smith, is too wispy to last.