Ken Tucker
July 08, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s not difficult to see why Muddling Through didn’t find a spot on CBS’ schedule for the next fall season. This sitcom starring Nurses‘ Stephanie Hodge is set in Drego’s Oasis, a dingy little coffee shop owned by Hodge’s Connie Drego. In the premiere, Connie is just out of prison for shooting her no-good, two-timin’ husband, Sonny (D. David Morin), whom she describes as ”dirt with a driver’s license.” Connie’s daughter Madeline (Jennifer Aniston) is running the cafe, while younger daughter Kerri (Aimee Brooks) is busy learning how to be as trampy as possible. This is the kind of sitcom that thinks you’ll laugh if it calls a policeman Trooper Cooper (Scott Waara) and tosses in a nightstick-as-penis joke for good measure. In this context, Hodge’s crack comic timing and shaded line readings seem touching, and well beyond the call of duty. D

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