January 31, 1996

‘Louie Show’ Offers Compassionate Humor

John Martin New York Times Syndicate
 

“The Louie Show,” premiering at 8:30 on CBS, stars comedian Louie Anderson as a Duluth, Minn., psychologist who is pretty good at helping other people straighten out their lives but - you guessed it - has trouble managing his own.

There are solid laughs in the opener, but the pace is a bit off. Then again, maybe the pace is just right. You just have to get used to Anderson.

He has always impressed me with his very personal style of self-deprecating humor and a gentle spirit that’s both endearing and humorous. It seems to me that people, even skinny people, can identify with his obesity.

All of us have something that weighs down our lives, and Anderson shows us if we can laugh at ourselves, the load is a bit lighter.

As Louie Lundgren, Anderson is pretty much the same guy. And he’s normal, compared with his friends.

Curt (Bryan Cranston) is a police detective with marital problems. Jake (Paul Fieg), a physician at the office where Louie works, falls apart at the sight of a woman. (These guys are a conspicuous counterimage to Louie, who is, shall we say, sexless.)

In the premiere, Louie acquires a roommate (Kate Hodge), a sexy free-spirit who has forsaken Los Angeles for Duluth. Yep, it happens every day.

Will “Louie” reverse CBS’ fortunes? Fat chance. But it’s worth checking out, because Anderson is one of a kind.

Highlights

“The Metropolitan Opera Presents,” KSPS at 7: Placido Domingo stars in Verdi’s “Othello” - in Italian with English subtitles.

“Unsolved Mysteries,” NBC at 8: Along with several repeat segments, the hour features a new report on questions arising from the drowning of a 33-year-old female student at a Maryland seamanship school. Elements of the investigation includes an anonymous phone call, a death threat, a burglary and rumors of illegal drug activity.

“The Drew Carey Show,” ABC at 8:30: Drew (Drew Carey) is elated when he’s given an assistant. But he’s deflated when he finds out that the new hire is his archenemy Mimi (Kathy Kinney).

A royal rumble results in both being fired. Carey is at his best, with the help of some good writing, when he engages in a battle of wits.

“Dateline NBC,” NBC at 9: Here are two stories we’ve seen before: a report on bizarre behaviors associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder and an inside look at organized crime courtesy of FBI tapes.

“Party of Five,” FOX at 9: Carroll O’Connor begins a recurring role as the Salinger’s maternal grandfather, a man who abandoned his family years ago. He comes to San Francisco looking for his daughter, only to discover that she’s dead and that he has five orphaned grandchildren.

And if you can believe this, Charlie (Matthew Fox), who last week started dating Claudia’s (Lacey Chabert) math teacher (Bess Meyer), begins a relationship with an older woman (Brenda Strong).

“Law & Order,” NBC at 10: The murders of two teenagers are so remarkably similar to a 5-year-old case that McCoy (Sam Waterston) fears that the man he originally convicted may be innocent. Compounding the dilemma is that his assistant on the first case (Laila Robins) was also his girlfriend.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Tony Danza (“Hudson Street”), boxer Eric “Butterbean” Esch and singer Seal.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Actor Jeff Bridges, David Spade (“Saturday Night Live”) and singer D’Angelo.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Mary Steenburgen and author Pete Hamill.

xxxx CABLE CALLS “Who Is Julia?” (1986), LIF at 9: This movie of the week was a flop a decade ago. The convoluted plot involves a slight personality problem following a brain transplant. Mare Winningham and Jameson Parker star. “Room Service” (1938), AMC at 6 and 11:30: The madcap antics of the Marx Brothers can’t be beat, and this is one of their finest hours. The boys are flat-broke theatrical producers facing eviction from their hotel. “20th Century,” A&E; at 7 and 11: “Born to Kill: Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy” targets two of the most horrifying serial killers of our time. This program is morbid but hauntingly fascinating. New York Times Syndicate


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