Christine Ebersole is a bright, talented, charismatic and thoroughly enjoyable comedic actress.
Unfortunately, her new sitcom - "Rachel Gunn, R.N." - is nowhere near as good as Ebersole is.Rachel is a no-nonsense nurse who's overworked, underpaid - and hates doctors.
And there's little wonder, since the only doctor seen in Sunday's premiere (7:30 p.m., Ch. 13) is an obnoxious, arrogant jerk (played by Kevin Conroy).
There's also a Native American male nurse (Bryan Brightcloud), who spawns bad Indian jokes. And a ditzy, naive nun (Kathleen Mitchell), who spawns bad nun jokes.
There are also bad jokes about bodily functions, fat people, elderly people, sex, birth control - a smorgasbord of bad taste.
The premiere's plot, such as it is, revolves around Rachel's efforts to rent out the other half of her duplex. And there are some genuinely funny moments that have much more to do with Ebersole's wonderful comedic timing than with the lines themselves.
But there are also bits involving a airbrained sex kitten of a nurse and a male stripper that are simply prurient, not funny. (Would it surprise you to learn that "Gunn" was created by one of the executive producers of "Married . . . With Children?")
Believe it or not, "Gunn" was originally produced for CBS, but that network had the good sense to dump it. Fox then picked it up - perhaps at a discount price.
Theoretically, they must have had an OK sitcom on the drawing board. And there are certainly much less talented actresses than Ebersole headlining successful comedies these days. (Think Tuesday at 8 p.m. for just one example.)
But the producers and writers were unable to resist taking the low sitcom road. Too bad.MORE ADVENTURES: Fox is debuting yet another sitcom - "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures" premieres Sunday at 6 p.m.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about this show. Fox did not choose to send out review cassettes, so I haven't seen it.
However, the simple fact that Fox didn't want the show reviewed should tell you something. As should the fact that this was originally scheduled to premiere last fall. And that the original order for 13 episodes was cut to seven.
At any rate, this sitcom is based on the feature films, although the stars of the movie are not involved in this incarnation. In the sitcom, Bill is played by Evan Richards and Ted by Christopher Kennedy.
And Fox promises that this will be a bodacious show about two most excellent dudes.
Well, we'll see.