By Terry Kelleher
September 30, 2002 12:00 PM

NBC (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

If I say this new series copies a movie, don’t make the logical mistake of thinking it’s the 1979 comedy The In-Laws. I’m talking about a picture that wasn’t as good—the 2000 hit Meet the Parents.

Parents was the obvious inspiration for NBC’s tacky summer reality series Meet My Folks. Now the network strip-mines the same territory in this sitcom, which premieres Sept. 24 with two episodes. Young marrieds Matt (Elon Gold) and Alex (Bonnie Somerville) move in with her parents, Victor (Dennis Farina) and Marlene (Jean Smart), even though Victor is a jerk. Does this sound harshly oversimplified? You won’t think so after seeing the pilot, in which the father-in-law immediately starts scowling and snarling to show he’s a Robert De Niro-style intimidator. The able Farina might be able to make this work if he were given some funny lines, but the writers seem to think hostility is a howl in itself.

Bottom Line: Stay out