Thursday, March 4, 2004
Not all stupid sitcoms are alike. Some are profoundly stupid. "The Help" (8:30 p.m., WB) is among the latter. You know you're on shaky ground when a network calls its show "An outrageous new comedy about class warfare." What's next, a zany laugh-riot about sweatshops?
Class-conscious comedies have always been with us. Movies and TV shows about the comedic tension between domestic help and their clueless employers have a rich tradition. Think of "My Man Godfrey," "Who's the Boss?" and "Upstairs Downstairs."
But these offerings have little in common with "The Help," because, unlike this new WB comedy, they were not stupid, crass, shallow, vulgar and doomed to quick cancellation. "The Help" opens with a shot of an elderly grandfather leering at the rhythmic movement of Maria's (Camille Guaty) hips and posterior as she vigorously mops the floor. Seconds later, this attractive, second-generation domestic is summoned to clean up dog feces. That's about as funny as it gets.
Tonight's other highlights
- Divinely inspired adventures in babysitting on "Joan of Arcadia" (7 p.m., CBS)
- Scheduled on "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC): Katie Couric interviews former journalist Jayson Blair, whose fraudulent stories brought scandal to The New York Times.
- Leeza Gibbons and Mark L. Walberg are hosts of "Test the Nation Two" (7 p.m., Fox).
- Popular underwater critters discover their Neanderthal counterparts on "SpongeBob Goes Prehistoric" (7 p.m., Nickelodeon).
- Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker star in the 2001 buddy-cop action comedy "Rush Hour 2" (7 p.m., TBS).
- Bosco's brother flees on "Third Watch" (9 p.m., NBC).
- The claustrophobic sleuth goes undercover on death row on the second-season finale of "Monk" (9 p.m., USA).
Jim Gaffigan appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno greets the most recent "Apprentice" reject on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Cee-Lo chat on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Carmen Electra, Ty Pennington and Diane Schuur appear on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).