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'Kelly Kelly' Has a Feeling of Deja Vu


Her first name is Kelly, his last name is Kelly.

She's white-collar, he's blue-collar.

She's a little uppity, he's a regular guy.

She's an Ivy League English literature professor and sniffy Upper East Side feminist and fashion plate who is single. He's a widower male chauvinist and Sloppy Joe-eating, suburban fire chief who is so gung-ho that he installed a fire pole in the cluttered, chaotic house in Secaucus, N.J., that he shares with his four children, ages 6 to 17.

Sure, they fall head over heels. But how will these two kids ever get along?

Not that you expected something cutting-edge. But you'd think that the WB could have found something for Shelley Long and Robert Hays a little fresher than the stale "Kelly Kelly," yet another TV comedy about merging opposites who somehow manage to happily coexist.


This is routine sitcomdom, with Long as the plucky, sage stepmother who manages--in the first two episodes, at least--to overcome all doubts about her ability to bring order to the Kelly household and straighten out macho Doug (Hays) about the roles of women in society.

There is some occasional bright dialogue here. When Kelly doubts that she has the stuff for parenthood, Doug assures her, "You're hurt, you're confused, you're halfway there."

And indeed, by the end of the premiere, she has won over his surly, resistant 13-year-old "tomboy" daughter, Maureen (Ashley Johnson), and next week successfully resolves a conflict between ultimately pliant Doug and the 17-year-old Sean (Will Estes), who is afraid to disclose to his father that he doesn't want to be a firefighter.

There are worse sitcoms on the air than this one, but a lot that are better. Meanwhile, as her academic career recedes into the background, Kelly remains hard at work on her PhD in mommiehood.

* "Kelly Kelly" premieres at 9 tonight on WB (Channel 5). The network has rated it TV-G (suitable for all ages).

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