March 28, 1994 12:00 PM

CBS (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)

C

On The Jackie Thomas Show, Tom Arnold’s first series, he played the boorish star of an aggressively idiotic hit TV series.

He seems to be slipping backward here. Arnold’s second comedy series isn’t as good as his first. In fact it’s barely better than that sitcom’s farcical show within a show.

This time around Roseanne’s soul mate plays a blue-collar guy who moves his wife and five kids to a rustic Kansas trailer next to the town dump. A recurring joke has to do with “tire-burning day.” That’s typical of this show’s dumbed-down hayseed shtick. When Arnold’s wife (Alison LaPlaca, another Jackie Thomas refugee) announces she’s going to the library, he whines, “You’re getting another book? What was wrong with that last one?” The humor is strictly Hee Haw caliber—that is, when it remembers what it’s about. The problem is that anyone on the show is apt to jump completely out of character if it means snagging an easy punch line. That’s just sloppy writing.

The hardest part of Tom to swallow, though, is the casting of the delightfully dry LaPlaca as Arnold’s wife. Why would a sharp, classy dame like this waste her time with a dim lug nut like Tom? Don’t you make the same mistake.

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