Dogs are not made of metal.
This may not come as a surprise to you, but it apparently is not information that was available
to the makers of MEN, WOMEN, AND DOGS, one of two new sitcoms on the WB tonight. A dog being carried under a jacket
sets off both a standing metal detector and a hand-held one.
And if you think they don’t know much about dogs, you’d be surprised at how little they know
about men and women. True, their flaws are mostly men, because the women rarely have a chance at a human
reaction. The men, however, are the true dogs of the series, each with a different method of interacting
with women but none treating them as human. And I’m not saying that there aren’t men who don’t treat
women as human, and I’m not even saying that there’s no room for humor from that — but the men here are
neither realistic nor humorous. The central conceit (men who hang out at a dog park mainly to meet women)
is not a good basic concept, and producer/star Bill Bellamy seems to be acting in a broader show than
the rest of the cast. And the obviously-dubbed laugh track seems to be watching a much funnier
Some folks may recall that last year’s new comedy NIKKI gave me hope that The WB might finally be
able to produce a good sitcom, and so I had particular wished that they would show this with OFF CENTRE,
since it follows immediately after Nikki at a time when no other shows start.
The show has a reasonable premise — mild-mannered-and-involved American lives with British
playboy in a swanky urban apartment. Unfortunately, the two lead actors make their roles
horribly unappealing. The British lead has a grating voice and the American doesn’t seem to have
the camera and timing awareness to make the part work. (If you do watch the show, close your eyes
while he’s talking, though, and see if you don’t hear the voice of St. Elsewhere’s David Morse.)
Some of the supporting cast and bit players acquit themselves well, and the writing approaches
usable but misses — they need to learn that they don’t have to explain their jokes.
By my count, that leaves three new shows that still have not premiered… but they’re the
three I’m most looking forward to, so keep your eyes peeled for the reviews.