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TELEVISION REVIEW

Bed checks are the order of the day on `The Game'

September 30, 2006|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

"The Game" is a light-as-a-feather new sitcom on the CW, starring Tia Mowry of "Sister, Sister" fame as Melanie Barnett, girlfriend of Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall), a rookie wide receiver for the San Diego Sabres.

"The Game" is a reminder that as long as a show like "The Class" on CBS is all white, television executives can reasonably argue that there is an African American audience that is being underserved. But why continue with these stale dishes? ("The Game," along with the WB-looking "Runaway," are the only two new series on the newly merged network, and both shows feel like they came off newly merged assembly lines.)

"The Game" involves Melanie's indoctrination into a group of player spouses and girlfriends, and even a player mom named Tasha (Wendy Raquel Robinson) who manages her quarterback son (a stretch amid the already stretched). These women will show Melanie, a medical student, the ropes of being the other woman -- to both the game and the groupies on the road. When Melanie breaks down and checks up on Derwin in Miami, picturing him in bed with his image consultant, she's joined by one of the wives, Kelly (Brittany Daniel).

As a been-there football wife, Kelly boasts she can get through a "Vogue, a People, and two Ebonys by halftime." I wondered about those two Ebonys, since Kelly is the designated hot blond co-lead, but mostly I just heard the strained writing.

Kelly's volunteered among the group to do this week's infidelity bed check, which involves sniffing Derwin's sofa for traces of that "cherry blossom body wash hootchie smell."

Kelly herself is kind of a hootchie with a heart of gold, while the likable Melanie is the antithesis of a hootchie. Hey, they brought it up.

ESPN canceled "Playmakers" a few years ago amid reports the NFL wasn't thrilled about a series that ran roughshod over more promotable sports cliches. The league shouldn't have a problem with "The Game." The action here is all sanctioned by the forces of contrived stupidity -- the National Sitcom League.

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paul.brownfield@latimes.com

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'The Game'

Where: The CW

When: 8:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday

Rating: TV-PG DL (may be unsuitable for young children with advisories for coarse language and suggestive dialogue)

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