Terry Kelleher
January 25, 1999 12:00 PM

The WB (Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)

It’s about four teenage friends who talk about sex a lot. It’s on The WB. So the easy thing would be to describe this show as a comedy version of Dawson’s Creek. Except a comedy is supposed to earn laughs, and Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane doesn’t have that part down yet.

From the first phone conversation in the Jan. 17 premiere, it’s clear these New York City kids are articulate. Zoe (Selma Blair) remarks that Jane does not seem “transplendently happy.” Jane (Azura Skye, Cab to Canada) observes that “a certain amount of self-flagellation is healthy.” You’ve got to like the polysyllables, but the pilot’s main plotline is uncomfortably unfunny. High schooler Zoe tries to get closer to a cute college guy by pretending to befriend his ogreish, wheelchair-bound younger sister. In the second episode, Zoe expresses a readiness to lose her virginity, while Duncan (David Moscow, Newsies)—desperate for female attention in the pilot—now flees from a girl who professes to have the hots for him. The only situation that approaches amusement is an attempt by Jane and her fraternal twin, Jack (Michael Rosenbaum, Urban Legend), to put aside their bickering and feign sibling affection. The teens do a lot of chatting in a coffee shop, where they are sometimes seen with textbooks, but schoolwork is apparently a low priority barely worthy of mention. This lack of emphasis on education is disappointing, because we hear in the premiere that Zoe attends “Fielding Mellish Prep.” There has to be humor at an institution named for Woody Allen’s Bananas character.

Bottom Line: You may not be eager to join this small circle of friends

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