×

Don’t tar ‘Bosom Buddies’ with ‘Work It’ brush

Upcoming ABC sitcom “Work It,” which now has an LGBT backlash — or perhaps a forelash, considering it doesn’t premiere until Jan. 3 — to go with its advance beating from critics, can hardly be discussed without recalling the 1980-82 ABC comedy “Bosom Buddies,” which also featured two men dressing up in women’s clothing for economic survival.

Viewers, especially those below the age of 40, might doubt that “Bosom Buddies” could have been any good, dismissing it as a similarly trite concept with nothing more going for it than a star-in-the-making Tom Hanks. If so, they couldn’t be more wrong. “Bosom Buddies” was a show that fired on all cylinders, almost shockingly so considering how thin the premise was.

Bosom-buddiesYes, Hanks and co-star Peter Scolari looked every bit as ridiculous as you’ll find “Work It” leads Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco do. But the fundamental difference between “Bosom Buddies,” and what I imagine will be the widespread reaction to “Work It,” is that with “Buddies,” you willingly suspended your disbelief that no one would see through the cross-dressing ruse, because there was such a reward to it.

Hanks and the vastly underrated Scolari had an impeccable chemistry, rivaling any duo on television at the time. Though the plots were often silly, the writing was crackling, and Hanks, Scolari and co-stars Donna Dixon, Holland Taylor (the “Two and a Half Men” mainstay), Telma Hopkins and the late Wendie Jo Sperber were all adept at elevating the scripts, which could also sneak in some pretty serious ruminations about life, love and longing in the big city amid all the comedy.

Donna-dixonFor fans of the show like me, the episode in which Kip (Hanks) revealed his true self to his longtime crush Sonny (Dixon) was every bit as huge as Sam and Diane’s first kiss on “Cheers” a few years later. That episode, by the way, took place at a fictional embassy gathering to honor a Latin American dictator named Albon Degas. Highbrow, the script was not, but smart and clever? Definitely.

How this all would play in the climate of 2011, I won’t speculate. But for me, the most painful aspect of “Work It” is that its presence will sully the already dimming legacy for “Bosom Buddies,” now remembered for little else than being the launchpad for Hanks’ career. The two seasons of “Bosom Buddies” rank high on my all-time list of “Brilliant but Canceled” comedies.

 

More TV

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island’ Pulled For Second Night After Former Host Caroline Flack’s Death

    For a second consecutive night, ‘Love Island’ will not air on U.K. broadcaster ITV2 following the death of former host Caroline Flack, Variety has confirmed. An ITV spokesman said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.” “After careful consultation between [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    Caroline Flack's Death Prompts U.K. Petition Demanding Media Inquiry

    A petition calling on the U.K. government to launch an inquiry into British media coverage of public figures has garnered close to 206,000 signatures. The death of former “Love Island” host Caroline Flack, one of the country’s most popular TV personalities, spurred the initiative, which asks government to investigate the press following “the maltreatment of [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Host's Shock Death Revives Concerns Around Mental Health, Media Scrutiny

    The death of popular “Love Island” host Caroline Flack has sent shockwaves across the U.K. and again raised long-running concerns about broadcaster ITV’s support of cast members on the hit reality competition as well as the country’s intense media scrutiny of public figures. Flack, one of the U.K.’s most recognizable reality hosts, was found dead [...]

  • Caroline Flack'ITV Palooza!', Royal Festival Hall,

    Caroline Flack, Former 'Love Island' Host, Dies at 40

    Caroline Flack, the former host of the U.K. reality competition, “Love Island,” has died. She was 40. “Everybody at ‘Love Island’ and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the ‘Love Island’ team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends,” [...]

  • Lynn Cohen

    Lynn Cohen, Magda on 'Sex and the City,' Dies at 86

    Lynn Cohen, a veteran stage and screen actor who played Magda on “Sex and the City,” died Friday. She was 86. Magda was Miranda Hobbe’s (Cynthia Nixon) housekeeper and eventually her nanny, and Cohen also appeared in both film adaptations of the show. She talked to Cosmopolitan about her role in 2018. “It showed a [...]

  • 'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD,

    'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD, Motherhood in Season 5 (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t yet watched the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” entitled “The Fiery Cross,” streaming now on the Starz app. In the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” Brianna (Sophie Skelton) gets confirmation of something viewers have suspected since the Season 4 finale — that her rapist, Stephen Bonnet (Ed [...]

  • Netflix's 'Love is Blind' Pods

    How Netflix’s New Reality Series ‘Love is Blind’ Works

    Apologies to “The Bachelor,” ‘Love Island” and “90 Day Fiance” — you’re all decomposing roses compared to the majesty of Netflix’s out-of-left-field SENSATION, “Love is Blind.” The premise of this “experiment,” a label this reality series delights in using, is simple. A handful of singles enter soundproofed “pods” where they then date other singles without [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content