New Fox sit-com, 'Get a Life!' gets a D--as in D is for dumb

September 21, 1990|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

"Get a Life!" may get better. But if the pilot is as good as it gets, I say get lost, get outta here, get real.

A lot of people were looking forward to this new Fox sitcom, premiering at 8:30 Sunday night on WBFF-TV (Channel 45). The star of the show, as well as its writer and producer, is Chris Elliott, who won four writing Emmys forhis work on "Late Night With David Letterman." An added treat is Chris' real-life father Bob (of the legendary Bob and Ray radio team) playing Chris' sitcom father in "Get a Life." There's also Elinor Donahue, formerly of "Father Knows Best," as Chris' mother.

The premise sounded daring, too -- a 30-year-old guy with a paper route, who lives above his parents' garage in St. Paul, Minn. Part of the appeal was supposed to be the notion of an adult who refuses to accept themainstream idea of what an adult should do and be.

But what a disappointment the pilot is.

The first indication of where things are headed comes early -- like during the opening credits. The opening consists of Elliott's character -- Chris Peterson -- riding down the street on his bicycle, delivering the newspaper.

The sequence ends with an attractive woman in a short negligee coming out to get the paper. Peterson sees her and purposely throws the paper so that she has to bend over to get it. As she bends, he ogles. Because he's looking at her, he crashes his bike headfirst into a parked car.

And I was all set to write about this show as a prototype of a postmodern sensibility in prime-time television. Seriously.

Sunday's pilot is about Chris trying to get his best friend, Larry (Sam Robards), to cut work and go to the amusement park with him. Larry is married and has two children. Larry's wife, Sharon (Robin Riker), hates Chris. She thinks he's childish and irresponsible. He is.

Anyway, Chris talks Larry into sneaking off. They lie to Larry's boss and wife, and head for the fair. But, boy oh boy, as luck would have it, the super roller coaster they are riding gets stuck, and they wind up on the local television newscast. Larry's boss and wife are not happy.

Sound dumb? You got it. Postmodern? Forget it. Try post-knucklehead.

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