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'Retired at 35,' a tired sitcom in premiere

David (Johnathan McClain) convinces his boss that he

David (Johnathan McClain) convinces his boss that he is reachable by any means and quickly hangs up before "freaking" out his parents with technology in the first episode of "Retired at 35" on Wednesday, January 19th at 10:30 PM on TV Land. "Retired at 35" (Ep. 101) Photo courtesy of TV Land. Photo Credit: TV Land Photo/

REASON TO WATCH

Cable's latest attempt to gentrify the laugh-happy sitcom space largely abandoned by broadcast networks - e.g., TV Land lead-in hit "Hot in Cleveland."

WHEN/WHERE

Premieres Wednesday night at 10:30 on TV Land

When a BlackBerry-tied corporate drone (Johnathan McClain) visits his retired parents in Florida, he decides to chuck it all and stay in their "active adult" community until he finds himself. Or something.

So he hangs in bars with his brain-dead bud, chases his hot high school crush, and plays wingman for his dizzy midlife-crisis dad (George Segal), who pronounces it "wingmun." (Ha ha!)

MY SAY Make a chart of all the elements TV writers would put into a live-audience sitcom to appeal to aging boomers and, secondarily, their 30-ish offspring. Voilà! "Retired at 35"!

Lively but goofy retired folks, catching their second wind - check. Cute but bland young dude, abetted by chubbier/dumber pal - check. Babes of both ages - check and check. Cigars and Scotch, bingo jokes and "Facial Book" (ha ha!).

Then cast famous TV faces. Jessica Walter plays McClain's painting-nudes-now mom. (Shelley Long visits next week.) Add quirks like McClain's employer making chopsticks and other "food-related wood." Have dad advise, "These people pay you to give up your dreams." Let son and parents have a Very Special Moment.

Yes, "Retired at 35" is '80s-dated. It lives in a universe where cool mom knows how to Skype but dippy dad keeps saying Facial Book. The sets and lighting look as cheap and flat as some old Saturday-morning sitcom.

If only the production demonstrated '80s capability. Even bombs back then had pace to their construction. This show lurches along, all its sitcom puzzle pieces laid out without being assembled into even a Hollywood picture of life.

At least the jokes get snappier by the second episode. (But so does their gamy nature.)

BOTTOM LINE May fly as a cable time-killer. But, remember, this shtick was a broadcast genre-killer.

GRADE C

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