Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comic Louie Anderson Gets His Own TV Series

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comic Louie Anderson Gets His Own TV Series

Article excerpt

PRODUCER Diane English has a long-running hit in "Murphy Brown," but her last series, the bike-messenger sitcom "Double Rush," was a quick flop as a midseason replacement last year.

English didn't think CBS gave "Double Rush" a chance to build an audie nce before pulling it after just a few episodes. And now she's experiencing deja vu: The network has not only slotted one of her shows for midseason but also ordered the minimum number of episodes, six.

So when standup comic Louie Anderson first meets the audience for "The Louie Show" (7:30 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 4), he issues what sounds like a plea.

On the show's set, talking to viewers in the studio, he explains how doing a sitcom has been a dream of his, how he wants to convey his meaning of life, even how he's "always been misunderstood as a fat person."

He then goes on to assure them, "We're going to have fun tonight. Don't be afraid to laugh."

Don't be afraid to cringe is more like it.

Fortunately, "The Louie Show" gets past that awkward moment very quickly.

It turns out to be a warm and funny half-hour that shouldn't have to beg for viewers, especially in the time slot after "Dave's World" that the canceled "Bless This House" had turned into such a wasteland.

Anderson plays Louie Lundgren, a psychotherapist working at an HMO in Duluth, Minn., and surrounded by friends who frequently need his therapy. In fact, he often needs it himself; he's an admitted doughnut addict, and he hates it when people touch his things.

But in Wednesday night's opener, it's Louie's roof that needs therapy, to the tune of $10,000. The expense forces him to find a roommate, and he picks Gretchen (Kate Hodge), a zany massage therapist from California - not, as his pals think, because she's so pretty, but because he sees her as a classic nut case.

"She's afraid of earth, wind and fire," he exults. "Christmas has come early for Louie."

Soon, though, it's obvious that Gretchen, despite her mile-a-minute, stream-of-consciousness conversational style, may actually be the sanest one around. …

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