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Run of the Hose aired from September 2003 until May 2004 on the WB.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the setting for this family sitcom in which three twenty-something siblings tried to raise their younger sister without ruining her. Their parents had moved to Arizona bcause of Dad's health problems, leaving 15-year-old Brooke ( Margo Harshman) in their care with everybody living in the family home. Kurt ( Joseph Lawrence), the eldest, ran the family store and tried to take charge, but was mostly ignored. Self-absorbed Sally ( Sasha Barrese) had returned a month earlier after being dumpted by her boyfriend and, in the series ' first episode , Chris ( Kyle Howard) came back after bailing out of law school. Kurt was the most serious and responsible of the three, while Sally was preoccupied with her own problems and Chris was charming but a little bit of a flake. They didn't always see eye to eye , and there was lots of complaining about one another's habits, but they loved one another and did try to get along. The biggest problem was that , although they all were commited to making sure Brooke was brought up " properly," they rarely agreed on what "properly" meant. Fortunately, Brooke was surprisingly mature for her age, and when her older siblings couldn't agree on rules and responsibilities for one another and for her, she frequently suggested the best course of action. Although they were never seen, The Franklin parents called home regularly to keep tabs on their kids. Mrs. Norris ( Mo Gaffney) was their nosy next-door neighbor who regularly popped in on the Franklins to make sure everything was under control, which was not always the case.
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Just Like Your Neighbors (if You Live in a Sitcom)
By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
Published: September 11, 2003
Like the harvest moon, a bewilderingly bad family sitcom appears yearly as an autumn rite. With cloying characters and zero raison d' tre, WB's ''Run of the House'' might be the one, but with the season hardly started, another ill-conceived pilot might yet intervene and make this show's plain badness look like nothing special. Still, ''Run of the House,'' which will have its premiere tonight, is dreadful.
Joseph Lawrence, formerly Joey of ''Blossom,'' has grown from junior heartthrob to pater familias. Here in ''Run of the House'' he plays Kurt Franklin, a young man who has been left to care for his three siblings for the winter. Stilted expository dialogue in the first episode explains that Kurt's parents have decamped to Arizona for his father's health and that the Franklin children are expected to stay unsupervised in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Kurt, once a minor league baseball player, runs some kind of family store.
The siblings are Chris (Kyle Howard), a charmer who has dropped out of law school; Sally (Sasha Barrese), a vamp who wears red; and Brooke (Margo Harshman), a 15-year-old naif who is meant to be the focus of the others' ministrations.
On hand is Mrs. Norris (Mo Gaffney), a meddling neighbor and throwback archetype, who goes so far as to invoke Mrs. Kravitz, the nosy neighbor on ''Bewitched,'' to elucidate her role on the show. Ms. Gaffney is a talented comedian whose game delivery of her tepid jokes is almost enough to sell them: she makes the rest of the cast look deplorably muggy by contrast.
The first episode tires itself out establishing the sitcom's sit: an advance handout might have been mailed to viewers to better effect. It then runs a plot exercise involving Brooke's first make-out session, which Chris accidentally disturbs. The clan erupts in speculation about how best to protect or liberate Brooke; a forgettable conclusion is reached.
Like many sitcoms, ''Run of the House'' depicts only an ahistorical television world with its own norms. People in this world still move to Arizona to cure heart problems. Those in their 20's still call their middle-aged neighbors ''Mrs.'' Moreover, Sally is still a plausible name for a young woman.
The Franklins' house, a clapboard number with a wraparound porch, is all sconces, throw pillows and window treatments, a page out of Midwest Living; this stuff, presumably, will mess up good when the kids decide to cut loose. By the end of the first episode, however, all of the objets were still in place. Parties with pop music will no doubt come later, depending on how long the show endures. But the parents in Arizona need not fear for their children. Even a visit from Snoop Dogg couldn't enliven this flatliner.
Fortunately this season, WB is offering a very different new show that achieves far greater results with far less effort.
Steve Harvey hardly needs his shiny Armani-style double-breasted pinstriped suit to light up the room on ''Steve Harvey's Big Time,'' a loose variety show that will also have its premiere tonight. He is in superb form, gently hazing the oddballs who share his stage.
Though the comedian's opening observation about his audience, the standard ''Y'all are tripping,'' did not bode well, it was proof that Mr. Harvey was not going to strive for originality. Rather, as soon as he hit his stride, pitch-perfect good humor flowed from him naturally and in abundance.
First off, Mr. Harvey called out Hunter Gallagher, a brush-cut white 10-year-old who identified himself as ''the godson of soul,'' James Brown's heir.
''Do you understand James, though?'' Mr. Harvey asked.
''Yeah,'' Mr. Gallagher said.
''That's rare,'' said Mr. Harvey. ''Because there's some full-grown African-Americans that's struggling with James.''
Mr. Harvey played this as a real conversation with a baffling child, rather than an interaction with a prop for the benefit of the audience. He repeated the bit with Abby Juneau, a lisping 4-year-old news junkie and savant (''Who's the governor of California?'' ''Gray Davith!''). He set Abby up so well that when she delivered at a shout the resounding ending to ''I Have a Dream,'' the audience leaped to its feet, apparently spontaneously.
Whether the variety format has any life left in it is still an open question, but Mr. Harvey himself is a model of mischief and vivacity. With years of experience on television and radio, he knows how to tease irony out of almost any situation. On ''Steve Harvey's Big Time,'' he clearly enjoyed himself while he handcuffed a white contortionist-escape artist. He shook his head in awe, saying, ''My oh my, how times have changed.''
RUN OF THE HOUSE
WB, Tonight at 9:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 8:30, Central time.
Betsy Thomas, executive producer; Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, executive producers for the Tannenbaum Company and Two Out Rally Productions. In association with Warner Brothers Television Production.
WITH: Joseph Lawrence (Kurt), Kyle Howard (Chris), Sasha Barrese (Sally), Margo Harshman (Brooke) and Mo Gaffney (Mrs. Norris).
STEVE HARVEY'S BIG TIME
WB, Tonight at 8, Eastern and Pacific times; 7, Central time.
Directed by Chuck Vinson; Steve Harvey, Madeleine Smithberg and Rushion McDonald, executive producers, in conjunction with Telepictures Productions.
WITH: Steve Harvey.
Correction: September 13, 2003, Saturday A television review on Thursday about two new WB shows, ''Run of the House'' and ''Steve Harvey's Big Time,'' misstated the surname of a girl who was a guest on Mr. Harvey's show. She is Abby Julo, not Juneau.
For more on Run of the House go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_of_the_House
To watch a WB Promo go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERKRclVBAV4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVg_68O7mgw
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Keywords: Run of House