ABC’s juggling of episodes and delay of the premiere certainly scars “Freddie” as it becomes one of the last fall shows to debut. Its humor is simple and, at times, degrading, virtually all of it based on gender battles and sex. Although there are some comic sparks in the opener, it feels locked into a single premise, one that Freddie Prinze Jr. can’t carry on his own.
Prinze plays hotshot Chicago chef Freddie Moreno, who lives in a lakefront condo that could be afforded only if he owned a chain of very successful eateries. He doesn’t seem to work much — his activities are chasing girls or hanging around with his extended family, which has inexplicably moved in with him.
In the pilot, Moreno and best friend Chris (Brian A. Green) figure out they are trying to date women who only want them for their money and connections. Chris decides they need to seek out poor girls. The duo stakes out a Laundromat, where Chris hooks up with Krystal (Valeria) and Freddie meets Gina (Ana Ortiz), a girl he knew growing up in his old neighborhood.
Krystal, as expected, takes Chris to the cleaners. Gina, on the other hand, is a homebody whose domestic tastes please the household of his sister (Jacqueline Obradors), sister-in-law (Madchen Amick), 13-year-old niece (Chloe Suazo) and grandmother (Jenny Gago). Their approval of Gina isn’t good enough for Freddie to keep her around.
Pat situations and ending keep “Freddie” from having any sort of edge; just by giving Freddie the job of a chef suggests that the show could escape the usual confines of a family-centric sitcom. “Freddie’s” producing team built sitcom franchises out of Drew Carey and George Lopez, but this one has neither the off-the-wall character of the former nor the charm in the lead role of the latter.