Despite the considerable verve of Pamela Reed’s performance and a handful of wickedly funny lines, “The Home Court” is likely to be sentenced to death by lethal neglect. The NBC scheduling department has cast its vote. By Saturday night, viewers will have had their fill of courtrooms. On the other hand, the competition isn’t too stiff, and this sitcom is more akin to “One Day at a Time” than “Night Court,” let alone all the legal dramas being played out on the air this fall.
Reed is Sydney J. Solomon, a juvenile court judge in Chicago who’s so tough she frightens guard dogs. Her vulnerable, feminine side is tested in the pilot when she squares off with her son (Breckin Meyer). He drops out of college and she kicks him out of the apartment.
The rest of her brood, her sister Greer (Meagen Fay) and her colleagues think she’s being too hard. Life as a single, working mom isn’t getting any easier. The main chink in this stubborn gal’s armor is her need for male companionship. The contract between disciplinarian and needy woman is nearly exhausted in debut seg.
The good lines in Sy Dukane and Denise Moss’ script are outnumbered by off-the-wall quips and non-starters. Material runs the gamut from toilet humor to references to Medea. Half seems written by a gifted adolescent, the other half by a Ph. D.
One kid surfs the Internet, but the quartet of children are otherwise unremarkable. There’s not enough of Fay as the jaded selfindulgent sister — a character inspired, perhaps, by “Absolutely Fabulous.” Charles Rocket portrays an incredibly immature jurist.
Andrew Weyman’s direction can’t be faulted, and the title song and music have the requisite moxie.
Like its lead character, “The Home Court” is both determined and desperate — and destined to get lost on Saturday night.