Bertinelli tosses hat in ring TV PREVIEWS

September 18, 1993|By David Zurawik

Mary Richards lives.

That seems to be what Valerie Bertinelli and the producers of the pilot for NBC's "Cafe Americain" are trying to make viewers believe, anyway.

Watch Bertinelli's character, Holly Aldridge, toss her beret in the air a la Richards in the opening credits. Where is Aldridge from? Minneapolis.

Instead of Minneapolis, "Cafe Americain" is set in Paris where Aldridge is supposed to be the ultimate innocent abroad working in a French version of "Cheers."

The pilot, which premieres at 9:30 tonight on WMAR (Channel 2), is all about how plucky, naive and vulnerable Holly is -- just like Mary.

Except, in the hands of Bertinelli, plucky plays as perky -- so perky you want to gag. And vulnerable approaches airhead -- so airheaded that it's hard to feel any empathy.

* 1/2

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