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Phil's Picks

In descending order, here's how the 2002 Dead Pool will -- nay, must play out:

3. That Was Then, ABC -- My pappy used to bounce me on his knee and say, "Son, any time there's two shows in which a sadsack loser harnasses the power of time travel to go back to his 1980s high school days so that he can make things right Quantum Leap-style, bet on the hour-long version to get canceled before the half-hour carbon copy." And so I shall. Of course, Jason was telling me today that That Was Then is better than the utterly identical Do Over. Then again, Jason also told me today that the St. Louis Cardinals will beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the baseball playoffs. My point? Jason says a lot of crazy things.

2. Less Than Perfect, ABC -- Repeatedly, in the pilot of this workplace comedy -- God willing, the wheezing, soon-to-be-extinct thunder lizard of the sitcom ecosystem -- we're treated to a series of fat jokes at the expense of star Sara Rue. You might get the impression that she's some mordantly obese butterball who's one Hostess snack cake shy of a massive coronary. In actuality, Rue is a perfectly attractive, normal-sized Earth female, whose only major failing appears to be that she has failed to achieve the count-my-rib-bones thinness look championed by aneorexic supermodels and five-sixths of the Friends cast. No truth to the rumor that ABC debated naming the show Tough Luck, Tubby or Here's Why You Don't Deserve to Be Loved, Lardass just to further drive the point home.

1. In-Laws, NBC -- A joyless, laughless sitcom that can't die quickly enough. You know it. I know it. Even NBC knows it and is simply looking for a way to surrender with dignity. Another week or two of watching Dennis Farina glower at Elon Gold while the laugh-track chokes out its pre-programmed approval, and dignity will be mighty hard to come by.

And now that I've said that, watch it remain on the air for the next million years.


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