THE SITCOM "Clipped"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on TBS

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WHAT IT'S ABOUT Never talk back to a man with scissors up your nose. And never bet against a sitcom pro like George Wendt. "Naahmm!" from '90s fave "Cheers" is now Buzzy of Buzzy's barbershop, coincidentally a downstairs business in Boston. He sold the neighborhood place to a 20-something kid who hired his high school classmates, who now chat away the day like denizens of some Boston saloon.

There's Mike Castle's cute former pitcher (no, really?), Ashley Tisdale's smart blonde, and Diona Reasonover's mouthy black Jew, proving some things actually can change. (Sorry, Carla.) There are jibes, bandsaw accident jokes, "secret" crushes, name-dropping (Matthew McConaughey), and equal-opportunity insults of weight, age, religion and race.

MY SAY There's also a lot of craft behind "Clipped." That finally tips the scales in the Turner cable world, where TNT has found success with slick dramas like "Rizzoli & Isles" and "Major Crimes," while comedy sibling TBS more often seems to whiff. Not this time.

Series creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick here nailed their cast chemistry, as they did on "Will & Grace" (and didn't on "Partners" or " $#*! My Dad Says"). While neither dialogue nor sitcom tropes could be called fresh, the pilot plays solid, relying on able actors to score under tight direction (James Widdoes). When you always reach base, who needs home runs?

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