NBC (Mon. Nov. 19, 9 P.M. ET)
In this perfectly horrid farce, Tony Curtis is a glove manufacturer who keels over during a disastrous Thanksgiving meal, leaving his wife (Mary Tyler Moore) to try to hold her nightmarish family together. Kin include a slobby son (radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier), a speaks-her-mind lesbian daughter (Curtis’s daughter Kelly, who resembles Cheryl Tiegs) and the baby (Andy Hirsch) who comes out of his room only to get food. Moore must also fend off a passionate bassoon-playing millionaire (Joe Bologna).
Moore’s role is more demeaning than an initiation into some rowdy sorority. She has to tackle Brandmeier on the front lawn and spank him while laughing demonically. She does a striptease song-and-dance in a supermarket produce section to seduce a muscular young man. She has to watch her first date (a typecast Morton Downey Jr.) barf in her bushes.
Sounds more like Fox than NBC, doesn’t it? Well, this is about as raunchy and tasteless as network comedy gets. Moore confides to Kelly Curtis, “Your father hasn’t got it on in years,” and asks Bologna at the funeral what’s wrong with his face, to which he replies, “I had a boil. My plastic surgeon lanced it.” Thanks for sharing.
It’s entirely fitting that at the end this gross family should recoup financially by breeding catfish. One bottom sucker to another.