October 13, 1997 12:00 PM

NBC (Sundays, 8:30 p.m. ET)


So what if the best character on this new sitcom is not among the living? The writers can always dig him up whenever the laughs die down. That may be rather often.

Jenny McCarthy, stepping up to NBC after grabbing attention on MTV (Singled Out, The Jenny McCarthy Show), stars as a wacky young woman from Utica, N.Y., who inherits the Hollywood home of the father she never knew, an oily actor whose ’70s stardom lasted about as long as the leisure suit. George Hamilton, a master of self-parody, is so right for the role of the deceased dad that viewers of the Sept. 28 premiere must have been frustrated to glimpse the character only in his videotaped will. Not to worry. In the second episode, McCarthy finds a tape of her father trying to be a disco singer on an old variety show. And network publicity gives reason to believe that most of his life is preserved on video, just waiting for her to press the play button. So there’s something to look forward to here besides the clumsy efforts of McCarthy and her best friend and housemate (Heather Paige Kent) to adapt to La-La Land, with frequent intrusions by the pushy would-be filmmakers (Rafer Weigel and Dale Godboldo) who rent the guest quarters. Those with limited enthusiasm for McCarthy’s wrinkle-nose-and-grin style of comedy may harbor the hope that Hamilton’s character will return-from the grave, like one of those nine-lived types on the daytime soaps.

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