In principle, viewers should be pleased that the television syndication business has grown to the point where it can now give a second chance to promising series that don't succeed on the networks. But when it does so for unpromising series, such as "9 to 5," which returns this weekend, the benefit is questionable.
Based on the hit 1980 film about three secretaries who get revenge on their sexist male boss, "9 to 5" wasn't funny when it premiered on ABC in 1982, and a major overhaul the next season didn't help. Now it's been transformed again for syndication--and it still isn't funny.
Debuting at 7 tonight on KTTV Channel 11, "9 to 5" returns Valerie Curtin and Rachel Dennison from the original TV cast and, as their compatriot, adds Sally Struthers, who still whines and whimpers like she did on "All in the Family" 15 years ago. It isn't becoming.
The producers say the new show will deal "with the travails of today's women in the work force" . . . as in tonight's episode, when Struthers' character struggles to cope with a new phone system ("I hate high tech; I like low tech") and Curtin's character pines after one of the men in the office ("I would degrade myself for that man, I really would--and he doesn't even know I'm degradable").