October 07, 1991 12:00 PM

ABC (Wednesdays, 10 P.M. ET)


It was just a matter of time. What we have here, helped along by one of the season’s best casts, is TV’s first overtly dysfunctional sitcom family. (Obviously the veneer of happy sitcom domesticity has always covered secrets, or all those former child stars wouldn’t be staging their own version of America’s Most Wanted.) The enmeshed sisters of the title are played by Margaret Colin, as a cynical recovering alcoholic. Jami Gertz. as a male-dependent neurotic, and Marsha Mason, making her series debut, as the codependent caretaker. Alex Rocco and Dan Castellaneta costar as, respectively, Mason’s hubby and her office nemesis.

The dialogue swerves at times into therapy-babble, as when Rocco comments on Mason’s late-blooming accounting career: “I won’t feel hurt, dismissed or threatened. Maybe a little emasculated.” But the gags are fresh and, for TV, unusually contemporary. And Colin, after being badly abused by such TV series as Foley Square and Leg Work, finally gets a role that shows off her devastating timing and her dry, sly delivery.

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