`Less Than Perfect' barely describes it

Today's TV

October 01, 2002|By David Zurawik

At last, a new fall network sitcom I can recommend. Well, not exactly recommend, and certainly not for everyone, or even most viewers.

But, if you are a young actor and want to see what bad things will happen to you at middle age if you don't work on your craft, then by all means watch Less Than Perfect (9:30 tonight on WMAR, Channel 2) and pay special attention to Eric Roberts. This is a hack actor meeting a cartoon role and walking through it on his way to payroll.

Look, I'm just trying to find something positive to say about a new fall sitcom, OK?

Roberts isn't the star in this ABC series about Claudia "Claude" Casey (Sara Rue), a temp at the GBN television network who makes it to the 22nd floor as an assistant to anchorman Will Butler (Roberts). This is supposed to be a comic narrative celebrating Claude's innate optimism and goodness as she overcomes schemers who court Butler's favor and put her down. There might be a series here, except creator Terri Minsky divides her universe into two extreme poles: Thin people are evil, larger-sized women are sainted. Claude is not a size 2, in case you were wondering.

Minsky might want to go back and study the wisdom of John Waters and the ways his movies question conventional notions of attractiveness and celebrate those who don't measure up. Less Than Perfect is a Disney-owned production made for the Disney-owned, dreary ABC network. This is a not a place to find wisdom - or laughs.

At a glance

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) - When Bridget lands a job at a trendy clothing store that offers its workers a 40 percent discount, Paul and Cate worry that she may not be learning the true value of a dollar. ABC.

Hidden Hills (9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) - One more sitcom family can attest that suburban life is hectic. And there's also a new neighbor - an attractive single mom with her own eye-popping Web site, who offers to help coach the girls' softball team. NBC.

Judging Amy (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) - Amy and Maxine face off in the courtroom, while Bruce and Amy's four-year relationship takes an unexpected turn on the fourth-season premiere. CBS.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow (10 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) - This series tells the story of African-Americans' struggle for equal rights during the era of segregation. Among the landmark victories was Brown vs. Board of Education. But that 1954 Supreme Court decision came nine decades after the year the show starts with. PBS.

Cable

Emeril Salutes Nashville (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Food Network) - Emeril visits Carl's Perfect Pig, Swett's Restaurant and the home of Hazel Smith before returning to his studio to "kick it up a notch" as his "Emeril Salutes America" series continues.

Compiled from wire reports by Sarah Kickler Kelber

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