Ken Tucker
December 20, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Get a Life

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
Chris Elliott, Brian Doyle-Murray, Sam Robards, Robin Riker

We gave it a B

Chris Elliott has returned as Chris Peterson, the arrogant, indolent, smirky, ”yammering half-wit” (as someone described him on a recent episode) and ”representative of albinos everywhere” (as Chris described himself in the same show). After being yanked from Fox’s Sunday-night schedule in August for weak ratings, Get a Life is back, on Saturdays, with even weaker ratings — Nielsen says it’s frequently the least — watched show in America. Hard to believe, but there are more people who would rather watch Sam Kinison bellow banalities in Charlie Hoover than see Elliott’s hypnotizing sneer-and-squirm act in this surreally masochistic sitcom.

Most bottom-rated shows struggling to stay alive would make drastic changes to attract new viewers; all Life has done upon its return is move Chris out of his folks’ house (where he resided with his perennially pajama-clad parents, Elinor Donahue and his real-life dad, Bob Elliott) and into an apartment overseen by his perennially pajama-clad landlord (Brian Doyle-Murray).

Other than that, it’s business as usual, which means, as it did recently, a scene devoted to Chris finding a dead rat in a carton of milk and deciding to become a restaurant health inspector. When he sees another inspector take a bribe to ignore a roach-infested eatery, Chris says solemnly, ”I simply cannot condone a system that allows insects to go careening through our small intestine as if it were a really cool water slide.” He vows to go to the police, but then someone offers him a bribe — five whole dollars! — and he happily shuts up like a clam.

No TV series has ever combined idiocy and cynicism with more conviction than Get a Life. B

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