Watching Nickelodeon’s “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn” — a live-action series about squabbling, highly un-identical 10-year-old quadruplets — the mind soon drifted from the show’s loud, chaotic comedy (such as it is) to the logistical hurdles of producing a series where young kids, subject to various labor restrictions, occupy virtually every scene. Seen strictly in that context, the sitcom (paired with another recently introduced half-hour, “Henry Danger,” a goofy but more promising concept) becomes moderately interesting. Although even then, it’s probably best to indulge such curiosity with the sound down.
The kids (three boys and a girl) all feature different personalities, making it hard for them to get together on just about anything. In the premiere, they manage to bond over ruining a signed athletic jersey that’s the prize possession of their dad (Brian Stepanek) — who runs a sports/activity restaurant called Get Sporty! — worrying that their screw-up is going to cost them the dog they’ve just adopted.
Not surprisingly, the opener contains a lot of screaming and sight gags, from what resembles a slime fight in science class (a throwback to Nick’s roots, certainly) to pelting people with a snowball launcher. One of the boys also has an eye for girls, but as played, that’s relatively harmless, if mildly creepy.
Created by Matt Fleckenstein (who per press notes is dad to five children within five years of each other), what’s missing is the underlying point of this, other than multiplying the popular children’s programming formula of mismatched twins (or identical cousins) by a factor of two and, more practically, creating a lot of work for on-set tutors.
Near the end, the kids have to own up to their misdemeanors, bringing down not-so-tough love from mom (Allison Munn) and dad, who frankly deserve a whole lot worse for the terrible rhyming names with which they have saddled their boys.
“Who wants to clean up the puke in the sky-diving simulator?” the folks ask.
Assuming the simulator is situated far from a TV that’s showing “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn” … Me! Pick me!