TV Land, where all time is eternally present, increases its roster of original sitcoms by 50% Wednesday with the addition of "Happily Divorced." Fran Drescher, who was "The Nanny," stars as a Los Angeles florist whose real estate agent husband (John Michael Higgins, from Christopher Guest films and a million other things) tells her after 18 years of marriage that he thinks he might be gay.
"We just had sex during 'Leno,'" she protests. "How gay can you be?"
It is good to live in an age when this may be seen as the stuff of affectionate comedy rather than of painful tragedy, and in fact the series is based on the lives of its creators, Drescher and her gay ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson; they also co-created "The Nanny." Once known, this fact lends to the project an authenticity that might not otherwise be apparent, so steeped is it in the rhythms and conventions of the 20th century sitcom.
That is in part the point, of course: These TV Land comedies, pioneered by the Bertinelli-Malick-Leeves-White "Hot in Cleveland," are meant to resemble the sort of shows their stars used to play in, though they are, in the modern mode, more tightly packed with sex (and, especially, no-sex) jokes, and everyone is older. Still, even within what one might expect to be the safe haven of TV Land, age remains an issue. When guest-star date D.W. Moffett says, "Can I ask you something?," Fran answers quickly, "30 to 40." Drescher is 53.