January 13, 1997 12:00 PM

USA (Sundays, 7p.m. ET)

C+

This sitcom, the leadoff show in a night of original programming, is part of the USA Network’s effort to improve its tacky image. That is a pity for those of us for whom tackiness offers a charming oasis of plastic palms and piped-in, fluoridated water. For instance, I really liked last year’s USA movie Maternal Instincts, with Delta Burke going psycho and running amok with a big wrench. Claude’s Crib, created by, produced by and starring young black actor Claude Brooks, will upset no one. It probably won’t interest anyone either. Brooks inherits his grandmother’s house, along with her tiny speck of a dog, and makes ends meet by letting out rooms to an interracial group of very attractive twentysomethings. As the show’s center, Brooks has made sure his character is likable and easygoing, but at this point there is not much else to say about him. Like Friends, the show is supposed to be about young people, college age or not much older, but it feels more mid-30s.

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