"Check It out"; "Get Smart", It Isn't
Would you believe Don Adams's new
situation comedy about a supermarket provides a barrelful of belly laughs? Would you believe a basketful of chuckles?
How about a snicker and a Milky Way?
Sorry about that, but on the basis of its opening episode, "Check It Out," the first original comedy series on cable TV's USA Network, looks mighty skimpy even by the modest standards of other new sitcoms. The weekly Canadian-produced series debuts Wednesday night at 8.. Adams, whose expressions as TV secret agent Maxwell Smart temporarily dented the American lexicon of the Sixties, "Would you believe...," "Missed it by that much," and "I asked you not to tell me that" were some of his catch phrases, gets caught this time on the far side of the punch line, playing the manager of an overstaffed and underpatronized supermarket.
The people who work for him would rather read magazines, talk on the phone, or ogle attractive customers than attend to their jobs, despite constant haranguing from their supervisor, Howard Bannister (Adams).
"Don't you have anything better to do?" Bannister asks his secretary, who is reading.
"You're right," she says, and starts to file her nails.
This humor makes the sitcom as hilarious as actual shopping. "Check It Out," created by Britisher Brian Cooke (who also created the British prototypes for "Three's Company" and "Too Close for Comfort"), attempts to compensate by injecting humanism. Wednesday's episode deals with
Bannister's problem in trying to fire the store's old security guard.
"I can't fire him; he's an old man," he says to his secretary. "Do you know what this is going to do to him?"
"Well, it's gonna constipate him for sure," she says.
"That's not funny, Edna," he says.
"No, not at his age," she says.
The dialogue was coscripted by Arne Sultan, one of the writers of "Get Smart." This time, the writing meanders into the bedroom, where Bannister and his secretary (Dinah Christie) are arguing over an uneventful evening. She accuses him of impotence. This is the least potent comedy writing since the last Bob Hope special on NBC.
I'd like to give a big thanks to Ryan Schroer who provided this article!!! J