New Shows Offer Comedy, Interviews with Celebrities

By Pennington, Gail | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 5, 1997 | Go to article overview

New Shows Offer Comedy, Interviews with Celebrities


Pennington, Gail, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


ONCE upon a time, a little sitcom starring a stand-up comic with an annoying nasal voice made its debut in the spring, after the network season had ended, when ratings no longer counted much.

Obviously, NBC didn't have much hope for "Seinfeld," then called "The Seinfeld Chronicles," but after some early struggles - well, the rest is history.

This week, another little sitcom starring a stand-up comic with an annoying nasal voice makes its debut, also after the network season has ended. Will lightning strike twice? Yes, and pigs will fly, and hell will freeze over, and all that. "Life . . . and Stuff" (7:30 p.m. Friday on Channel 4) isn't just awful. It's painfully, pitifully, pathetically awful. "Life" showcases Rick Reynolds, who may well be funny on stage. TV comedies have sucked all the humor out of funny people plenty of times before (see: "The Arsenio Hall Show"). But since Reynolds co-created the show, and based a lot of it on his stand-up act, he has to take his share of the blame for this disaster. Reynolds, whose version of comic delivery is to sneer and smirk, stars as Rick Boswell, an arrogant, know-it-all living a trite suburban life with his wife, Ronnie (Pam Dawber). Rick has problems, which he shares with viewers in scenes in which he projects himself into re-creations of old TV shows and movies (now there's a fresh concept). Other times, he simply pours his heart out to an unseen listener, who might turn out hilariously to be Tom Snyder, on TV, or a nurse in the emergency room. The problems? Well, he can't find time to strike romantic sparks with his wife. Plus, she often makes him do things he doesn't want to do, like skipping a softball game to go to a kids' birthday party. His slob of a brother (Andy Bowe) lives in a Winnebago in his driveway. "Life . . . and Stuff" takes over the time slot that almost killed the wonderful "Everybody Loves Raymond" last fall. "Raymond" star Ray Romano is also a stand-up comic, and superficially the shows are similar. The difference is that "Raymond" (now airing at 7:30 p.m. Mondays, and renewed for fall) is not only a fresh and off-center take on family life, it's genuinely funny. "Life . . . and Stuff" missed the point - to make us laugh. The whole point of another new summer series is to make us laugh. …

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