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As the first sitcom centered on the survivors of a nuclear holocaust, Woops! plays the Ultimate Disaster for laughs. Hey, I like laughing at the apocalypse as much as the next guy, but from its title on down, Woops! is depressingly timid, displaying far too little of the Fox network’s time-honored tastelessness.

For one thing, politics never intrude here — the explosion was just a big mistake, a few bombs that went off by accident. And the survivors, who gather in an abandoned farmhouse to rebuild the world together, are a dully democratic assortment of types: uptight WASP (Lane Davies), smiley bimbo (Marita Geraghty), stuffy African-American physician (Cleavant Derricks), humorless feminist woman (Meagen Fay), plucky homeless man (Fred Applegate), and our narrator-hero, a Woody Allen-ish teacher played by Evan Handler. The jokes are predictable, all on the order of, ”That tears it — the last tube of toothpaste in the world, and someone squeezes it in the middle!” Woops! makes its Sunday-night neighbor, Herman’s Head, look elegantly witty; maybe Woops! is just a nightmare in Herman’s head. Fox should rouse itself and cancel both shows. D