NBC's `Three Sisters' is simply sophomoric

January 09, 2001|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

In the grand tradition of "The Michael Richards Show" and "Cursed" - in other words, dreadful sitcoms for the new millennium - comes "Three Sisters" tonight on NBC.

As you watch this sorry series about three grown sisters and the man to whom one of them is married, you'll wonder how the network that seemed to hold the patent on smart sitcoms in the 1980s and 1990s with shows such as "Cheers" and "Seinfeld" could go so wrong so fast in comedy development.

The sitcom opens with the voice of Steven (David Alan Basche), the husband of one sister, saying, "I'm married to three women: my wife and her two sisters, because when you marry a woman with sisters, believe me, it's a package deal."

That's a nice, catchy opening line - except for one thing. When you open in voice-over that way, you're also telling the audience to pay attention to the character doing the talking, because he's going to provide the show's point of view - he's your guide to the world of this sitcom.

But not in "Three Sisters." Apparently, the producers were absent the day that lecture was given in Storytelling 101, because Steven's point of view is soon dismissed, and the focus shifts to what the three sisters are saying, doing and thinking.

Bess (Katherine LaNasa), Steven's wife, is mainly thinking about how very pregnant she is. Nora (Vicki Lewis), her clinically depressed sister, is thinking about how awful her life is and how angry she is at her at ex-husband. Annie (A.J. Langer), the ditzy third sister, is scheming to raise money by selling her eggs on eBay.

The big plot development tonight: Nora moves in with Steven and Bess, and in the last scene, the three sisters wind up in bed together with Steven out on the couch. Believe me, the final scene is an improvement over the earlier "comic" moment in which Steven tries to make out with his pregnant wife.

`Three Sisters'

When: 9:30 tonight.

Where: WBAL (channel 11)

In brief: Another desperately bad sitcom from NBC

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