'Teech' earns dunce cap for cheap jokes and contrived premise


CBS has paired "The Royal Family" with another sitcom starring a black performer. While the veteran Redd Foxx might have the clout put over a family sitcom, young Phill Lewis can't do much with "Teech," another high-school comedy premiering tonight at 8:30 (Channel 11).

This time, the school is an exclusive boarding school, so music teacher "Teech" Gibson (Lewis) has to endure watermelon jokes and being mistaken for the electrician. Teech asks his class, "Does anyone know what I'm doing here?" And wise-mouth student Freedman (Joshua Hoffman) shoots back: "You're the token black teacher."

Another television triumph for affirmative action.

Teech spends most of his time not teaching, of course; who on the TV faculty has? No, Teech keeps matching wits with a quartet of rowdy juniors who look old enough to be doing postgraduate work.

Dubcek (Curnal Achilles Aulisio) is the brawny goof, Askew (Ken Lawrence Johnston) is the yuppie goof, Freedman is the sarcastic goof, Nichols (Jason Kristofer) is the goofy goof.

In the first show, the guys keep removing the recently deceased music teacher's body from the school rotunda. Goofy, huh?

For their punishment, they're sentenced to learn the school song, but Freedman won't sing because he has a strange voice. It's not Memorex and it's not real; it's all rather contrived.

This is the kind of show that resorts to cheap titillation. The comely young assistant headmaster (Maggie Han) walks in on the card-playing quartet, who are in their underwear and bathrobes. And she also drops into Teech's room in her bathrobe.

As school comedies go, "Teech" is nowhere near the head of the class.

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