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TV Series Review

Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows all about being on a show about nothing. Maybe that's what attracted her to CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine, which follows the unremarkable happenings of working mom Christine Campbell. Two years after an amicable divorce, Christine is still adapting to singleness while maintaining an odd relationship with her ex, Richard. "My divorce is better than most people's marriages," she boasts.

It's true. The pair act like best friends, even when Richard dates a younger woman, also named Christine (thus the show's title). He and "Old Christine" still talk by phone every night before going to bed. They're at one another's place every day. They genuinely care for each other and they're proactive in raising their son together. So why the divorce? Sex. Or by their account, the lack of it.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said of this show, which revels in a continuous stream of bawdy dialogue and randy sight gags. Jokes fly about sex toys, premature ejaculation, gay sex, fellatio, penis size, sexual positions, self-gratification, lesbian children and open marriages. Starving for sexual activity since her divorce, Christine latches onto a divorcé for a series of one-night stands.

Meanwhile, when Christine's 9-year-old son develops a sincere interest in God, Christine does all she can to discourage him from going to church. Bitter over a childhood confirmation mishap, she reasons that "[churchgoers] hate gay people ... and I hate anyone who hates." Her solution is to educate her son spiritually at home by watching 7th Heaven episodes and burning incense. When she eventually takes Richie to a church (whose pastor takes pride in the number of homosexuals in his congregation), the experience gets compared to pacifying a food craving. Christine's brother assures her, "He'll probably go once and be off it."

Let's hope curious channel-surfers take a similar one-and-done approach to Old Christine, or better yet avoid it altogether. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Melanie McFarland lambasted this sitcom as "so weak that the laugh track doesn't just sound forced, it sounds as if the audience has a gun to its head." Indeed, it's painful to watch an Emmy-winning actress flounder through lame scripts week after week. As her onscreen husband observes, "Christine, you have sunk to a new low. This isn't just the bottom of the barrel. You've gone under the barrel." Don't let teens join her there.

Episodes Reviewed: March 13, 27, Sept. 18, Oct. 9, 16, 23, Nov. 6, 2006

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Marcus Yoars

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