Having watched every half hour thus far broadcast of Cursed, I am here to report that I laughed exactly once during the Nov. 16 episode. Chris Elliott plays the supporting role of a doctor on this show, which stars Wings‘ Steven Weber as a perennial bad-luck magnet. It’s the start of a scene; Weber will enter soon with some dialogue that will further this evening’s banal plot, but before he does, Elliott is sitting on the edge of a hospital bed. He has pulled up a corner of his green hospital-scrub shirt to expose a bit of pink, paunchy stomach. Utterly self-absorbed, he picks at a patch of his tummy skin and says to himself in an angry, panicked screech, ”What is that?”
That was it. Weber’s Jack entered, there was some idiocy about Jack having two sprained thumbs and needing Elliott’s character to help him because it’s essential that Jack give the thumbs-up sign to his boss at a crucial business meeting, and — oh, it doesn’t matter. It was just the sight of Elliott, the great, demented former writer-performer for David Letterman’s talk shows and the star of his own ridiculous 1990-92 Fox cult series, Get a Life, being willing to bare his spare tire for the sake of a blithe non sequitur that made me laugh with surprise, and a gratefulness bordering on tears.
Because, oh lordy, this is a bad show. In the pilot of Cursed, Weber’s Jack was hexed by a date who was angry with him, but beyond being demoted at his job and having a rainstorm appear over his head in the opening credits, the premise is irrelevant to the series, which tries for Seinfeld-style absurdity, and does it badly, and which features Seinfeld‘s Mr. Peterman — John O’Hurley — playing exactly the same sort of boss for Weber. O’Hurley delivers lines like ”You go get ’em, you go-getter, you!,” the soundtrack erupts with laughter, and Weber — as a person, not as an actor —looks embarrassed by the entire enterprise. Beyond providing the difficult-to-package talent of Chris Elliott with a regular showcase, there’s no reason for Cursed to exist. D