We gave it a C-
Up until the last minute, this tired half-hour comedy series was going to be called Smoldering Lust. That NBC retreated to the much duller Black Tie Affair is testament to the show’s lack of smolder, lack of lustiness, and lack of ability to carry off the affectionate parody of the pulp-novel genre that series creator Jay Tarses presumably had in mind. In Tarses’ first TV foray since The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd stopped production more than two years ago, Bradley Whitford (Scent of a Woman) stars as a dorky private eye hired by Kate Capshaw (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) to keep tabs on her husband, John Calvin (Making Love), whose own eye roves toward Alison Elliott. In this two-episode premiere, there’s a murder you won’t care about, a couple of cartoon smooches between Capshaw and Whitford, and a recital of manufactured drolleries that stand in for wit. ”You’ve chosen to strap our marriage into a chair, pry open its mouth, and yank its teeth out like a heartless periodontist,” says Capshaw to Calvin—the kind of line only Leslie Nielsen should be allowed to say. Pass the laughing gas.