Look Who’s Talking, the hit 1989 film, was a cute little comedy that let us in on the thoughts of a baby; Baby Talk, the TV spin-off, lets us in on its own lack of thought. Julia Duffy, so fondly remembered as the lovely twit Stephanie on Newhart, stars here as Maggie Campbell, single mother of baby Mickey. Mickey is played by twins Paul and Ryan Jessup, but his lines are provided in voice-over by Tony Danza (Who’s the Boss?). ”Danielle,” says Mickey/Danza to a girl baby, ”you’re so beautiful, you make me drool — I mean, more than usual.” That, believe it or not, was the biggest laugh in the pilot episode.
There’s a lot of talent involved in Baby Talk. The executive producer is Ed. Weinberger, cocreator of The Cosby Show and executive producer of Taxi. And in addition to Duffy, the cast includes William Hickey (Prizzi’s Honor) and Lenny Wolpe, who’s made a few striking appearances on L.A. Law as a man with Tourette’s Syndrome. But all these talented people have produced insipid junk. In Baby Talk, Wolpe is a goofy electrician perpetually working in Duffy’s apartment, and Hickey is what an ABC press release describes as an ”eccentric handyman.” ”Eccentric” here is a code word for ”drunken” — all of Hickey’s jokes concern the fact that he’s too inebriated to do his job properly. Har-har.
Duffy’s occasional flashes of prim sarcasm remind you how funny and original she was on Newhart and only confirm how wasted she is in Baby Talk. D-