Unhappily Ever After

Jennie (Stephanie Hodge) and used-car salesman Jack Malloy (Geoff Pierson) are getting a divorce after 16 years but their three kids aren't much interested until it's pointed out to them that they'll be spoiled rotten by their competing parents.

Jennie (Stephanie Hodge) and used-car salesman Jack Malloy (Geoff Pierson) are getting a divorce after 16 years but their three kids aren’t much interested until it’s pointed out to them that they’ll be spoiled rotten by their competing parents.

Jennie, booting Jack out of the house, brings in her Jack-hating mom Maureen (Joyce Van Patten), who baits him when he comes by on divorce business — seems they’re ending the marriage without lawyers, or at least he is. Scene between Jennie and Jack as they mull over what Jack’s getting — not much — has unfulfilled potential.

Youngest son Ross (Justin Berfield) gives his dad Mr. Floppy, a talking, sour-acting, stuffed bunny who snipes at Jack when they’re alone. (Mr. Floppy’s a puppet voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait, puppeteered by Allan Trautman). So far, he hasn’t earned any points as a funny creature.

Material’s blatancy could win over viewers, with Hodge’s upstaging and Pierson’s anemic attempts to beat Jennie down. Kevin Connolly plays teenage son Ryan, and he’s OK; Berfield’s younger son isn’t seen much as yet. Redheaded Nikki Cox as daughter Tiffany boasts a jazzy wardrobe and makeup that don’t suggest any serious or intelligent purpose. And Van Patten deserves better.

The writing’s heavy, and director Gerry Cohen seems unable to lighten the load. Main reason people will tune in will be for Hodge’s brazen Jennie, not for a loud-mouthed, unfunny bunny.

Tech credits are OK.

Unhappily Ever After

(Wed. (11), 8:30-9 p.m., KTLA)

  • Production: Taped at CBS Studio Center by Touchstone TV. Exec producers-writers-creators , Ron Leavitt, Arthur Silver. Co-exec producers, Marcy Vosburgh, Sandy Sprung. Supervising producers, David A. Caplan, Brian Lapan. Producer, Harriette Regan. Director, Gerry Cohen.
  • Crew: Camera, Mark Levin; editor, Larry Harris; art director, Richard Improta; audio, Richard Masci; video, Eric Clay; technical director, John Pritchett; music, Jonathan Wolff.
  • Cast: Cast: Geoff Pierson, Stephanie Hodge, Kevin Connolly, Nikki Cox, Justin Berfield, Joyce Van Patten, Jessica Hahn, Dana Daurey, Brett Stimely, David O'Donnell. Mr. Floppy voice: Bobcat Goldthwait. Co-creator of Fox's "Married ... With Children" Ron Leavitt joins with Arthur Silver to send another sitcom down the chute, this time on the new Warner Bros. network. Is it crude? Is it funny? Is it an audience pleaser? That's what counts, and the opening stanza, struggling for yocks, earns some before keeling over. It doesn't bode well.