Taped at Warner Bros. Studios by Mohawk Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Executive producer, Bruce Helford; co-executive producers, Clay Graham, Les Firestein; producers, Deborah Oppenheimer, Robert Borden, Drew Carey, Rick Messina, Richard Baker, Larina Adamson; director, Michael Lessac; creators-writers, Carey, Helford; camera, Ken Lampkin; editor, Richard Schwadel; art director, John Schaffner; theme, Bob McGuire; music, W.G. Snuffy Walden. TX:Cast: Drew Carey, Diedrich Bader, Christa Miller, Ryan Stiles, Kathy Kinney, Alaina Reed Hall, Victor Helford, David St. James, Ian Gomez, Lauren Katz, Natasha Silver. Pilot for new series headed by standup comic Drew Carey goes in for establishing working-class characters. All amiable enough folks, they could use sharper dialogue and fresher observations. Oswald (deep-voiced Diedrich Bader) aims to be a deejay, and Lewis (lanky Ryan Stiles) is a janitor at a pharmaceutical company. The kitchen’s the meeting place to talk over activities, but the talk’s routine, the reactions predictable.
Carey’s in personnel at a department store, where he’s trying to hire a woman for the cosmetics counter. Approached by bitter, job-seeking Mimi (Kathy Kinney) , he gets in hot water for not handling her interview well: She’s over-made-up, surly and ready to fight. Happens good-looking Kate’s out of a job, and she wangles him into hiring her.
Carey’s affable, and some of the stuff is funny. But a car-pool seg doesn’t work, and the talks around the Carey kitchen are ho-hum — at least in the opener.
Michael Lessac’s direction, though, is inventive, and Carey seems comfortable slung between “Ellen” and “Grace Under Fire.”
Future depends on stronger verbal sallies among the principals and on giving them something to do other than parley; opening sequence in a bar is a hopeful sign of things ahead.