Peter Scolari — who starred with Tom Hanks on ABC's cross-dressing comedy ''Bosom Buddies'' from 1980 to '82 — offers his take on ''Work It'' (Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m.), the network's latest attempt at a gender-bending romp

By Peter Scolari
January 06, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

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Every 30 years or so, ABC sends men in skirts off to war, entrenching them in the minefield of pop culture. Work It, ABC’s newest retro comedy, is not a reinvention of an old device; it is more a dusted-off record player from a vintage comedy-writing thrift shop. It might still work, but don’t plug it into your iPod or all hell will break loose.

Lee (Ben Koldyke) is an out-of-work guy who used to sell cars, and Angel (Amaury Nolasco) is his best friend, who used to fix them. In ABC reality, it follows naturally that the two should dress up as women, score jobs as pharmaceutical reps, fool an office of women, and get on with the next best days of their lives. The good news is that during the development of this premise, no animals were harmed.

I can tell you that Koldyke is likable and innocent of his own shtick. Nolasco’s Angel is at risk of being a stereotype, but the acting is wholesome and funny. And Kirstin Eggers, as Koldyke’s nutjob officemate, is phenomenal.

On Work It, nuance and subtlety are locked in the trunk of the head writer’s car, some of the bits predate the written word, and BTW, don’t look directly at the TV, or you might be able to tell which women are really men in drag. Confession: I costarred with Tom Hanks on Bosom Buddies, ABC’s last attempt at this genre, and I have the razor burn to prove it. When I served back in ’82, I learned firsthand that war isn’t pretty — and neither are these guys. But on more than one occasion, Work It made me laugh, and I’m man enough to admit it.

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