We gave it a B-
With his solid, chino-clad body, his head of thick, graying hair, and his familiar, friendly scowl, Adam Arkin (Northern Exposure) was built to play men mature enough to accept responsibility yet sardonic enough to be amusing about the chores of adulthood. In the premiere of CBS’ summer series Big Wave Dave’s, Arkin gets to chuck all that: He plays Marshall, a baby-boomer lawyer in Chicago recently booted from his job who, along with two male bondees, leaves the urban grind behind to fulfill a dream of running a surf shop in Hawaii. David Morse (St. Elsewhere), similarly sprung from his usual role as a Thoughtful Guy, is the Dave of the title, a stockbroker with a broken marriage; he and Marshall bring along Patrick Breen (Sunday Dinner) as Richie, the official Nerd Bachelor Buddy, for comic ballast.
The three amigos wouldn’t make it across the street, however, if it weren’t for the ministrations of Marshall’s wife, Karen, played by Jane Kaczmarek (Equal Justice). As set up by creators-executive producers Ken Levine and David Isaacs (Cheers, M*A*S*H), who should know better than to rely on this dated claptrap of sitcom sociology, these three theoretically grown-up men are in fact big, goofy boys who need mothering, organizing, and witty pep talks. And Karen is the superwoman who knows how to get things done efficiently. In a chic miniskirt, jacket, and heels. During a rainstorm. On Oahu.
The result of this regressive premise: Big Wave Dave’s has a musty feeling of arrested development. Like it’s the 1960s, and a terrible tsunami has hit Hawaii, leaving good actors and funny lines stranded on an out-of-date sitcom island. B-