'It's like, you know...' trades the big apple for the sunbaked avocado
A.J. Langer
Credit: ABC

ABC’s ”It’s like, you know…” (premiering Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.) was created by ”Seinfeld” writer-consultant Peter Mehlman. Set in L.A., the show — like ”Seinfeld” — eschews substance for the minutiae of the moment, the ”yadda, yadda” about nada. ”If you’re looking for clever sitcom jokes, meaningful characters, and stories to get invested in, look someplace else,” jokes executive producer Ted Harbert.

The show’s sun-dried California vibe is apparent even in its title. ”’It’s like, you know’ is what people say here as a substitute for speaking of substance,” explains Harbert. ”It’s an easy way out of speaking, and that’s what L.A. is — an easy way out, a substitute for substance.”

It’s this very lack of substance that both repulses and seduces the show’s main character, the transplanted New York writer Arthur (Chris Eigeman). ”It is unfalteringly honest to its theme of this New York writer coming to L.A.,” Harbert says. ”Johnny Carson and Jay Leno have been making fun of L.A. for four decades now — it’s almost a national pastime.”

But with all the local references, isn’t Harbert worried that non-Angeleno viewers will get as lost as a van load of Canadians at the interchange of the Hollywood and Santa Monica Freeways? Not really. ”I think the reason that TV is in the (sorry) state it’s in is that we always think people aren’t going to get this or that,” says Harbert. ”If you do a show where 100 percent of the audience gets 100 percent of the jokes, you’ll have a homogenized, boring show.”

And whatever else it is, ”It’s like?” isn’t homogenized. As one of its smart-aleck characters might say, it’s more like skim. ”These characters are in no rush to throw out jokes,” says Harbert. ”There’s no (formula of) ‘setup, joke, setup, joke.’ It comes out of the way they talk. It’s written differently from most shows.” And that’s like, you know, a reason to watch right there.

  • TV Show
  • NBC
  • Syndicated