Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hot in Cleveland: Well beyond belief

TV VIEWERS IN Northeast Ohio had something to talk about today that doesn't involve LeBron James's current sphinx-like role in the destiny of the Cavaliers. It's the new sitcom "Hot in Cleveland", a fetching title for a city that is seldom very hot, but in this instance produced three not-very-interesting over-50 flustered women, a late-octogenarian (Betty White) and a number of on-site references to convince you that it was an authentic stage for the hyperventilating comedy.

I watched it from sheer exhaustion of sitting through several innings of another Indians loss. The writers obviously felt that with Cleveland in the title - a gushing source for late-night comedians - viewers would be lured with the expectation of, say. White out-jumping LeBron for a rebound. It wasn't to be. Instead we are asked from the outset that we suspend our disbelief that the three Los Angelenos - Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves and Valerie Bertinelli - were deposited in Cleveland when their plane made an emergency landing.

After visiting a generic bar, where the women found the commoners cool, they immediately rented an apartment, thus assuring that they would be around for awhile for later episodes! Apart from a few good one-liners (White's references to whores), the whole idea rested on sight gags, shattered egos and fascination with how much Clevelanders (the normal people) eat without calorie-guilt.

The new TV Land's show suggested to me that the originators should have spent a little more time in the city to find the real source of humor. (As an added attraction to seduce the viewer, Leeves strutted around in a short skirt revealing her perfect legs. But she could have done that in a show about Chicago or Dallas. )

The show may get better. But if it does, I'll have to read about it.

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