REASON TO WATCH
For Fran Drescher fans only.
Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on TV Land
In her real life, Drescher was once married to Peter Marc Jacobson, with whom she co-created her long-running CBS sitcom, "The Nanny." They also co-created "Happily Divorced," which is loosely based on their separation and divorce in the mid-90s (also, coincidentally, midway through "The Nanny's" run).
Here, Fran (Drescher) is a florist who is told by her husband, Peter (John Michael Higgins), that he's gay. Her parents, Dori and Glenn (Rita Moreno, Robert Walden), are not surprised. They always thought he was. Aghast, Fran asks why they didn't tell her: "We thought you knew," they say. Peter, for example, goes to "Sound of Music" sing-a-longs and wears colored contact lenses. They divorce, but Peter stays in the same house. She starts dating Elliott (D.W. Moffett), who pays gentleman-caller visits. Sitcom hilarity then attempts to ensue.
MY SAY There's nothing to be gained by subtlety or kindness here, by telling you how wonderful the years have treated Drescher, or how her smoky, sultry, nasally, Queens-y voice retains all the allure of the old "Nanny" days. (Drescher's voice alluring? Well, at least as utterly a unique vocal instrument as there is on TV.)
Based on the 22 irredeemably painful minutes TV Land offered for review, this show is clunky, sodden, cliched, drab, bland and terribly (terribly) weary. Even though purposely retro, this still could almost pass for the work of a particularly devious satirist who wants to send up the conventional '80s-era laugh-track-infested sitcoms, with it's 1-2-3-joke! 1-2-3-joke! rhythm and soul-depleting drivel that passes for topical humor. But I'm getting carried away, and for that I more or less sincerely apologize. Did I mention how great Drescher looks? She does -- absolutely -- and that's, at least, some good news. Plus that voice -- still so gritty you could sand the floor with it -- yielded the pilot's single funny line.
BOTTOM LINE "Happily Divorced" is awful. Really.