January 8, 1997

‘Sons’ Relies On Sophomoric Humor

John Martin New York Times Syndicate
 

We already have “Men Behaving Badly,” so I’m not sure why we need “Chicago Sons,” premiering on NBC at 8:30.

These three guys may not be quite that outrageous, but the humor comes from the same place: Men are helpless, shortsighted, predatory, hapless twits. Hey, I’m laughing already because this is such an original idea. Never mind that FOX has done it - unsuccessfully - about three dozen times.

But maybe you’ve seen that lame promo, the one where one of the actors tries to trick the actress into thinking they’re supposed to be rehearsing a lovemaking scene. You already know this isn’t sophisticated comedy.

Anyway, the three brothers are Jason Bateman (“The Hogan Family”) as architect Harry Kulchak; D.W. Moffett (“The Oldest Rookie”) as his older, recently separated brother Mike; and David Krumholtz (“The Santa Clause”) as their college dropout kid brother Billy.

They live together in an apartment across the street from Wrigley Field.

Paula Marshall, the woman in the promo, stars as Lindsay Sutton, a beautiful co-worker Harry makes love to only in his dreams. She’s been seeing the same guy for five years.

It’s fluff, and it’s not very original. But it’s aimed at a younger audience than its 8:30 comedy competition, “Pearl” on CBS and “Coach” on ABC.

Highlights

“World of National Geographic,” KSPS at 7: In “Realm of the Alligator” biologists explore Florida’s Okefenokee swamp. You’ll see plenty of gators as well as the animals around them.

Among the many wonders are carnivorous plants that live on unsuspecting insects.

“Grace Under Fire,” ABC at 8: Things never come easy for Grace (Brett Butler), and that’s what makes this series both funny and relevant. Her son Matthew (Tom Everett Scott) visits with his pregnant fiancee (Tess Harper), a woman Grace’s age.

She tries not to be judgmental, but the signs are obvious the marriage is a bad idea.

“Beverly Hills, 90210,” FOX at 8: David (Brian Austin Green) is threatened when Valerie’s (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) old boyfriend (Kane Picoy) shows up and she gets him a job at the Peach Pit. Donna (Tori Spelling) saves a life, and Kelly (Jennie Garth) finally dumps Mark (Dalton James).

“Coach,” ABC at 8:30: You’ve always known Dauber (Bill Fagerbakke) was a space shot. Now, apparently, he’ll declare that he’s been contacted by aliens.

In what’s billed as a sensitive episode, Hayden (Craig T. Nelson) tells his assistant to get over it or he’s fired.

“Orleans,” CBS at 9: Larry Hagman returns to series television in a crime drama that gets off to a talky, muddled, unoriginal and uninspired start.

The former “Dallas” star plays a New Orleans judge and the head of one of the city’s most powerful families. His children are a police detective (Brett Cullen), an assistant district attorney (Michael Reilly Burke) and a riverboat gambling casino manager (Colleen Flynn).

The premiere deals with the case of a black man accused of gunning down a political boss outside the casino. It’s a tangled, but weary web that Big Daddy helps unwind.

The delta scenery is the best part.

The series moves to its regular 10 p.m. Wednesday time slot next week, opposite NBC’s far-superior “Law & Order.”

“Great Performances,” KSPS at 8: The 90-minute broadcast features traditional American songs by baritone Thomas Hampson. Marilyn Horne is among the singers and musicians who join in.

Cable Calls

“Love Field” (1992), LIFE at 9: Michelle Pfeiffer earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in this story set during John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She plays an unhappy Dallas housewife who befriends a black man (Dennis Haysbert) on her way to the JFK funeral.

What could have been a much better film is cluttered with plot devices that get in the way of two intriguing characters.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Newsman Sam Donaldson and illusionists Penn and Teller.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Actors Matt Dillon and Jackie Chan, and musician John Pizzarelli.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: To be announced.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email