Perhaps the least flattering thing that can be said about this family comedy is that it feels like a perfect addition to a Friday lineup that includes “Reba” and “Living With Fran,” which is to say broad, obvious and not particularly funny. The creators of “Will & Grace” serve up a pair of genetically mismatched twin sisters with equally unlikely parents, leading to a parade of “Dumb blond”/”You’re ugly” jokes. Any show that features designer panties called the “Butt-Pucker” can’t be all bad, but “Twins” comes pretty close.
Sara Gilbert at least brings some human dimension to the otherwise relentless silliness, playing the smart if rather plain half of twin siblings being left to run their parents’ thriving lingerie business. The setup is that Mitchee (Gilbert) resembles her cerebral dad (Mark Linn-Baker), while the aptly named Farrah (Molly Stanton) — the company’s shapely “spokesbutt” — is the spitting image of their ditsy former-model mom (Melanie Griffith).
In the premiere, the parents’ marriage has hit a rough patch, prompting Mitchee and Farrah to contemplate quitting in an effort to bring them together. The plan is complicated when the bookish Mitchee develops a crush on the new head of marketing, which seems preferable to fishing for men in an advanced-degree singles chat room. That storyline continues — mostly predictably, as Mitchee tries to convince Dad to think of her as a woman — into the second episode.
Aside from the bickering sisters, there’s two generations worth of blond jokes — think the “Legally Blonde” series that was discussed but never made — plus a little After School Special lecture about families learning to appreciate their differences.
Creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick elicit a snicker or two from the sheer incongruity of some of the dialogue (Farrah, for example, accuses an irate Mitchee of possessing “weird gorilla strength”). Yet despite Gilbert’s “Roseanne”-honed skill of delivering a tart zinger and Griffith’s game willingness to dive into full “Born Yesterday” mode, there’s a limpness about the premise, which vaguely resembles an old, short-lived ABC series about unlikely sisters, “Good & Evil.”
In this case, the sibling disparity would more accurately be characterized as “Blondie and the Brain,” but the low-grade insults, coupled with gags about Farrah getting out of her “work clothes” (that is, underwear) and worshipping Paris Hilton, only go so far.
The WB doesn’t require much wattage to keep the lights on between “What I Like About You” and “Reba,” and with Stanton adding another dazzling smile to the netlet’s billboards, “Twins” just might fill that order. Strange, though, how a show engineered much like the “Butt-Pucker” — designed to lift (the spirits) and separate (young from old) — barely has the wiring to raise a titter, much less genuine laughs.