Boo-hoo boomers find a TV home


"Dave's World" is the signature series of a TV year that seems dedicated to baby-boomer parenting.

The CBS sitcom stars Harry Anderson, formerly of "Night Court," humor columnist Dave Barry in a wall-to-wall whine of male fortysomething heartbreak about having to be an adult.

"Dave's World" is going to be a hit -- a big hit mainly because it's scheduled between Burt's world and Murphy's world -- "Evening Shade" and "Murphy Brown," respectively -- at 8:30 Monday nights on CBS (WBAL-Channel 11 locally).

But let's give credit where credit is due: It will also be a hit because it so adroitly panders to the self-absorbed, I-don't-want-to-be-the-responsible-one male boomers.

If you wondered where all the yuppies of the '80s went in the '90s, this sitcom has the answer: They're living in "Dave's World."

They include Dave's wife, Beth (DeLane Matthews); Dave's boss at the newspaper, Kenny Peterson (Shadoe Stevens); and Dave's friend, Shel (Meshach Taylor).

It's a male, male, male world, with Matthews in it mostly to comfort Dave when he asks plaintively, "I'm just a fossilized old fud, aren't I?"

This is where the good boomer wife, replacing the boomer guy's mom, lovingly embraces Mr. Fortysomething and says, "Not to me -- you're just as cool and sexy as that day we first met on campus in 1968."

I can almost smell the tear gas.

And just in case there's not enough whining going on at home, in tonight's episode Dave's boss calls him into his office, asks Dave to close the door and then says, "If you saw me walking down the street, would you think I'm a hip, good-looking guy or a pathetic old fool?"

Someone call the angst police, please.

There is no real plot to tonight's pilot. Dave, who has two kids -- 8-year-old Tommy (Zane Carney) and 6-year-old Willie (Andrew Ducote) -- winds up coaching his elder son's soccer team against his better judgment.

There's no wisdom in it either.

Wisdom in Dave's world goes like this: "Adulthood is a big, sleek snake . . . that swallows you." Being cool and staying hip is knowing all the words to "Louie, Louie," buying a big amplifier and playing your Fender Stratocaster guitar at night to wake up your suburban neighbors.

Is this what the counterculture and protest movements of the '60s have come to?

The kindest thing I can say is that "Dave's World" is a perfect vehicle for CBS to sell Dockers pants with elastic waistbands to boomers who have let their waistlines slip away from them. Let's hear it for Dave Barry, CBS and Madison Avenue.

*** 1/2 (for understanding and so skillfully plugging into the boomer psyche)

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