IT'S ALL RELATIVE
Series Premiere Wed., Oct. 1 ABC
The biggest disappointment of the fall season. Ostensibly a gay-themed version of BRIDGET LOVES BERNIE (or perhaps MY TWO GAY DADS), this new sitcom has been heavily promoted by ABC and is this year's New Gay Hope. But, sadly, the show is simply flat and not funny. (I honestly didn't laugh once in watching the Pilot Episode).
The premise: an engaged couple, Bobby and Liz (Reid Scott, Maggie Lawson), encounter in-law conflicts. She was raised by two upper-class gay dads—art gallery owner Philip (John Benjamin Hickey) and school teacher Simon (Christopher Sieber). Liz attends Harvard, is Protestant and knows a lot about art and culture.
Bobby, on the other hand, was raised in a close-knit working-class Irish Catholic family, and works in the pub run by his parents (Lenny Clarke and Harriet Sansom Harris— best known as Frasier's hysterical agent Bebe).
The jokes are predictable, and the primary running-bickering feud between gay couple Philip and Simon revolves around one having had a livelier sexual past than the other.
By the second episode, the show improves a little—but, oddly, it is at its best when it is simply focused on the romance of the engaged couple. The gay-versus-straight in-laws material is weak, and not that interesting or funny.
Relative comes with great credentials. It's written by Frasier writers Anne Flett-Giordano and Chuck Ranberg and executive produced by the well-established gay production team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago). But it's hard to know what makes a sitcom premise work. This isn't the first time an accomplished gay production team has mis-fired with a gay-themed sitcom. In 1999, fresh off his Best Picture Oscar for American Beauty, writer/ director Alan Ball gave us ABC's short-lived and equally unfunny Oh Grow Up!, which revolved around two straight guys and a gay guy sharing a house.
WED., OCT. 1
ELLEN DEGENERES (NBC,10 a.m.) Daily. Wed: Kevin James. Thursday: Elton John, Noah Wyle. Friday: The Rock, Brittany Snow Mon: Dean Cain, Bonnie Raitt.
ALL MY CHILDREN (ABC, noon) Daily. Last week, Myrtle read Bianca's palm and assured her that love is coming back into her life to stay. When David let Lena know that Michael Cambius had been found dead, she was relieved that Bianca would no longer have to face him.
HOLLYWOOD SQUARES (Daily, 6 p.m.) Lesbian comedian Judy Gold is a Square all week.
IT'S ALL RELATIVE (ABC, 7:30 p.m.) Premiere.
High Price of Fame: Out (E! TV, 8 p.m.) New look at being gay in Hollywood and gay programming. Features Ellen, k.d. lang, Ian McKellen, Will & Grace, Rosie and Queer Eye.
THE WEST WING (NBC, 9 p.m.) The search for Bartlett's kidnapped daughter Zoe continues.
RENO 911! (COM, 9 p.m., 11:30 p.m.) Funny spoof of cop reality shows, including gay Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon).
ISAAC MIZRAHI (Oxygen, 9:30 p.m.)
ELLEN DEGENERES (Oxygen, 10 p.m.) Oxygen airs week-old repeats every night of Ellen's show. Wed: Allison Janney, Donnie Wahlberg. Thurs: Jason Biggs, Amber Valletta and Michelle Branch. Fri: Ben Stiller, Pat Benatar Mon: Daryl Hannah, Kate Bosworth. Tues: Danny DeVito, Fait Ford.
THURSDAY, OCT. 2
INSIDE: PRIME-TIME CARTOONS (VH-1, 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m.) Includes SNL's THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO and SOUTH PARK.
RICKI LAKE (Ch 8, 1 p.m.) 'Metrosexuals' Sexually ambiguous behavior among young men. Among the panelists: New York gay performer Jonny McGovern (a.k.a. 'The Gay Pimp').
WILL & GRACE (NBC, 8 p.m.) Mira Sorvino guest stars as an old girlfriend of Leo's—who coincidentally is also the only woman that Will ever slept with. Her relationship with Will bothers Grace, which in turn bothers Leo. Karen finds Lorraine's (Minnie Driver) dog at the mansion.
COUPLING (NBC 8:30 p.m.) Very not-funny new series based on the British TV series of the same name. Promoted as a racier version of Friends, the series is set in Chicago and follows six friends, some of whom either date or have dated each other. Lindsay Price plays bisexual Jane. Jane hits on a gay guy to get a rise out of her own ex.
E. R. (NBC, 9 p.m.) Carter searches for Kovac in the Congo.
DAME EDNA ON JAY LENO (NBC, 10:35 p.m.)
GINA GERSHON ON CRAIG KILBORN (CBS, 11:35 p.m.) First of a two-night appearance.
THE ELLEN COMING OUT EPISODE (Lifetime, midnight). Repeat: Originally aired. April 30, 1997, for an audience of 42 million.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3
INFAMOUS (E! TV, 5 p.m., 9 p.m.) Repeat: Includes George Michael's arrest and the Ellen / Anne breakup.
HIGH PRICE OF FAME: OUT (E! TV, 7 p.m.)
ELTON JOHN ON JAY LENO (NBC, 10:35 p.m.)
GINA GERSHON ON CRAIG KILBORN (CBS, 11:35 p.m.) Gershon signs a song from her new lesbian rocker film Prey for Rock and Roll.
CAN YOU TELL? (Oxygen, midnight) Among the challenges: Gay or Straight?
SATURDAY, OCT. 4
E! TRUE CHER (E! TV, 10 a.m.)
E! TRUE ROSIE (E! TV, 3 p.m)
KERR SMITH: CRIBS (MTV, midnight)
SUNDAY, OCT. 5
BOY GEORGE: CRIBS (MTV, midnight)
THE REALITY OF REALITY MARATHON (Bravo, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Repeat: Parts 1-3 of 5. Part 2 features gay Survivor winner Richard Hatch.
E! TRUE REAL WORLD (E! TV, 3p.m.)
FRESHMAN DIARIES (SHO, 10 p.m., 3 a.m.) Documentarian R.J. Cutler follows a group of students through their freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin, including two gay students, Neil and Luis.
MONDAY, OCT. 6
TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS, 8:30 p.m.) Alan (Jon Cryer) and son Jake move in with Alan's brother Charlie (Charlie Sheen), after Cryer's wife Judith (Marin Hinkle) goes lesbian. Tonight: Brotherly bonding over too many drinks leads Charlie and Alan to confront their self-obsessed mother (the always-hysterical Holland Taylor).
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT ON LETTERMAN (CBS, 10:35 p.m.)
TUESDAY, OCT. 7
WHOOPI (NBC, 7 p.m.) Mavis (Whoopi) feels guilty about using a sight-challenged man's (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) interest in her to share in his prized tickets to the New York Rangers.
QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY (Bravo, 7, 9 and 11:30 p.m.) Repeats.
JOE SCHMO (Spike TV, 8 and 10 p.m.) 'Fake' reality show, in which average guy Matt Kennedy Gould is led to believe that he is competing in a real reality TV show—not knowing that the other cast members are all actors faking it and meant to make a fool of him. Straight actor Lance Krall plays Kip, 'The Polynesian Gay Guy.'
REAL WORLD PARIS (MTV, 9 p.m) Features gay Irish roomie Simon.
NIP/TUCK (FX, 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m.) Drama about two L.A. plastic surgeons, from out producer Ryan Murphy (POPULAR). Features Roma Maffia as lesbian anesthesiologist Liz Cruz.
Gay Boy Ric is a comedian and pop singer based in L.A. To receive free GTV E-Mail Alerts: email@example.com