Picks and Pans Review: Simon
The WB (Sundays, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Two dissimilar brothers (Harland Williams and Jason Bateman) move into a dilapidated apartment in Harlem and start looking for work. Williams, as Simon, is a simpleton who likes to sit in a bubble bath with a rubber duck. His idea of complimenting a woman: “Did anyone ever tell you you look like Marilyn Munster?” Bateman, as Carl, a dapper MBA, dismisses Simon’s chances in the job market: “All you do is sit around all day and watch television.” Miraculously, Williams, a boob-tube savant, winds up as the programming veep at Vintage Television (think Nick at Nite). Meanwhile, Bateman can’t even get the security guard in the lobby to read his résumé.
A stand-up comic who’s a cross between John Cusack and Lyle Lovett, Williams is the most appealing prime-time goof since Gomer Pyle. And sitcom veteran Bateman (The Hogan Family) is quite good as the dry straight man. Together they have viable comic chemistry. Unfortunately the writing is sporadic, and Simon’s TV workplace is, as far as humor goes, a vast wasteland.