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Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lawyer’s bar is tavern type

July 19, 2012

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The new sitcom “Sullivan & Son” (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., TBS) makes a noble effort to exhume the “Cheers” formula. Like that series and other sitcoms of yore, the premise and setup of “Sullivan” are so rapid-fire and obvious that they might be better explained in a theme song.

Steve (Steve Byrne), a rising Wall Street lawyer, takes his coldly ambitious girlfriend, Ashley (Brooke Lyons), home to Pittsburgh. There they attend a testimonial for his father, Jack (Dan Lauria), at Jack’s bar, Sullivan & Son.

Ashley complains bitterly about the unhip tavern and its neighborhood’s lack of chic stores, coffee shops or “people who matter.” Steve, for his part, is immediately struck by a feeling of warmth and belonging. It’s hardly giving away too much to say that Steve quickly decides to buy his dad’s bar. So it’s goodbye Ashley and hello Pittsburgh. That’s too bad because Ashley’s brittle urbanity offered ample opportunities for satire.

As on “Hot in Cleveland,” Steve discovers that a real life can be had between New York and Los Angeles. His move brings him back to the embrace of the bar and its characters, including Carol (Christine Ebersole), the aging cougar; Hank (Brian Doyle-Murray), the politically incorrect barfly; and a gaggle of slacker dudes who’d rather drink than work.

Steve’s most charged relationships are with his Irish-American dad and his Korean-immigrant mother, Ok Cha (Jodi Long).

Steve is being continually micromanaged and tortured by his mother, much to the delight of his long-oppressed sister, Susan (Vivian Bang). Meanwhile, he has his eyes on an old crush, Melanie (Valerie Azlynn), but doesn’t seem to have much time for any other woman except Mom. If “Cheers” was a place where not-so-perfect adults congregated, “Sullivan” is a place where you can’t get away from your parents.

• “Project Runway” (8 p.m., Lifetime) enters its 10th season. Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia return.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Denise Richards guest-stars on “Anger Management” (8 p.m., FX).

• Scheduled on “Rock Center With Brian Williams” (9 p.m., NBC): gymnast Gabby Douglas, Mitt Romney’s five sons, student loan debt, a visit to the Wisconsin Dells.

• Psychic encounters on “Rookie Blue” (9 p.m., ABC).

• Louie looks for a girlfriend on “Louie” (9:30 p.m., FX).

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