A Minute with Stan Hooper

Thursday, November 13, 2003

A while back, I was complaining that new TV shows seem to be ripping off the same shows over and over, shows that I'm really not too wild about to begin with. So I'm pretty pleased to see a show rip off a show I liked the first time around. A Minute with Stan Hooper is pretty much Newhart. Easily flustered uptight guy moves to wacky small town. People drive him nuts. Wackiness ensues. It's a good formula, especially with the right cast, which Stan Hooper certainly has.

Norm MacDonald stars as the title character, who is an Andy Rooney or Charles Kurault type commentator who decides to move to small town America. Norm plays a very slight variation on his usual character, which is to say he gets to do his "what the hell is wrong with you?" shtick but drops the smug comebacks and put-downs. Personally, I have no problem with Norm's usual persona, but this version of Norm (Norm 2.0?) may be palatable for viewers with lower levels of smugness tolerance than I have.

More exciting is the supporting cast, most notably Penelope Ann Miller. I missed Penelope Ann Miller, so I'm very pleased she's back. Her character (Stan's wife) is a little less loopy than her usual character, but she seems to be fixing that as time goes on. Other notable castings include Fred Willard and Reagan Dale Neis, both of whom were on the unfairly unwatched Maybe It's Me.

Overall, the show's nothing fabulous, eliciting maybe 3 or 4 real laughs in each half hour episode, but that's more than have been induced in the entire runs of Everybody Loves Raymod, Will and Grace, and The King of Queens put together, so I can't really complain.

Rating: B (Nothing groundbreaking, but made me laugh)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
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