He's from the Everglades, lives in his camper and talks like this: "Boy, imagine me gettin' a sister and a gun permit in the same week. If I ain't God's favorite child, the devil must be a pullin' my crank."
Meet Arlo Weed, the most broadly drawn, most stereotypical character of the new TV season. But Arlo, who is played with lip-smacking gusto by David Keith, also has the greatest break-out potential of any new character this fall, which makes "Flesh 'n Blood" worth at least a look.
The NBC sitcom, which premieres tonight at 10 on WMAR-TV (Channel 2), is set in Baltimore, though there are no scenes of the city and only one reference to it. What's of greater interest is the clash of sensibilities that occurs when Arlo and his two children, 11-year-old Beauty (Meghan Andrews) and 16-year-old King (Chris Stacy), show up on the doorstep of Rachel Brennan (Lisa Darr), billed as the city's youngest district attorney.
Rachel is a yuppie and Arlo is a red-neck. (If you think either of those terms are offensive oversimplifications, wait until you see the show.) Arlo and Rachel, it turns out, are also brother and sister -- something both of them just found out.
The action in tonight's episode is sitcom-predictable. It's about the yin-yang of career vs. family seen from Rachel's point of view. Arlo, who's a bit of a con man, not to mention full of himself, moves in on Rachel's life and makes himself comfortable. Rachel, who had been adopted as a child, at first thinks she might like having a family -- even this one. But when Arlo's obnoxious behavior messes up one of her big cases, she tells him and the little Weeds to leave.
Ultimately, though, Rachel has a change of heart, and the Weeds have themselves a new home.
Is it funny? That will depend on the eye and the ear of the beholder. Rachel's first exposure to King comes when the teen-ager walks down the steps into her living room, wiping his hands and says, "Daddy, I got that transmission soakin' in the bathtub like you told me." Beauty tells Rachel that she'd like to live with her and argues her case by saying, "Then you could have a daughter without committin' the sinful act of fornication." When Rachel asks Arlo if he thought their mother loved her, he says, "Like a coon dog loves a fresh blood trail."
It's that kind of humor -- not much different from the stuff that won big laughs and ratings for "The Beverly Hillbillies." If you like your humor broad, this brood's for you.