Ken Tucker
March 27, 2009 AT 06:26 AM EDT

So did you check out the first episode of In The Motherhood? Flat and obvious, it featured a trio of funny women — Will & Grace‘s Megan Mullally, Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines, and Jessica St. Clair of Best Week Ever and Worst Week — as moms who pal around and joke about the stresses in their lives. When, early on, Hines’ character made a circular motion around her, ah, pelvic area and said, “No one has seen this in a very long time,” you (a) immediately understood the level of the entire show and (b) knew it was time to change the channel.

Motherhood, as you may know, is based on a series of webisodes with a different cast, including Chelsea Handler and Leah Remini, which was more coarse and funnier. So why would Mullally and Hines, who know how to make coarse-and-funny work for them, agree to this watered-down half-hour of sniping and wine-drinking? The lure of prime-time network-TV exposure? Who needs that? Handler’s become a TV and book-author star just by making lush-jokes on E!

The TV world has changed, but ABC continues to make sitcoms the old-fashioned way: the According To Jim way. Which is to say, the groaningly obvious way.
Grade: C-

More on In The Motherhood:
In the Motherhood: Show won’t use submissions from real parents

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