Remember all that stuff about how Farrah Fawcett had become such a good actress?
Well, what it really meant was that in the right role, usually that of a victim, supported by a good director, in a movie setting where she had the freedom to do several takes, the former "Charlie's Angel" could surprise you and pull off a believable character.
It didn't mean that she has the wherewithal to do the toughest sort of acting, comedy, filmed live before an audience. The incontrovertible evidence is "Good Sports," a CBS sitcom that premieres tonight at 9:30 on Channel 11 (WBAL).
This is a show that arrives with a top-speed spin. Fawcett and real-life lover Ryan O'Neal co-star as a bickering couple. This is the stuff of which tabloid headlines are made. Alan Zweibel, who wrote much of "It's Garry Shandling's Show," is the creative force behind the half hour. Sounds like it can't miss. So did "Chicken Soup."
Fawcett plays Gayle Roberts, a former model turned serious sportscaster on an all-sports cable channel program. When her co-anchor drops dead after seemingly being stumped by a trivia question for the first time, the network's owner, a nice turn by Lane Smith, hires O'Neal's Bobby Tannen, a flake of a former football hero who arrives with no experience but full of gratitude for being saved from a life of delivering pizzas.
Roberts gives Tannen a deep-freeze reception which he answers with a naive niceness until he runs out of patience, probably once a show, and delivers a monologue of irreverent anger. Tonight's guest star, Kareem Abdul Jabbar playing himself, is one of the victims.
O'Neal is actually pretty good at this, showing the basic chops of an old pro as he milks the material for some good laughs. He's got the character nailed. But when it comes to Fawcett's turn in the bickering dialogue, all she shows is that she has memorized her lines.
Still, despite O'Neal's competent effort, the bottom line is that ''Good Sports" is bad news.
* A beautiful sports talk show host resents her new partner, a flaky ex-jock.
CAST: Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O'Neal
TIME: Thursdays at 9:30
CHANNEL: CBS Channel 11 (WBAL)