The Captain isn't an officer; it's an apartment building in L.A., the loopy kind that exists only on TV sitcoms like Welcome to the Captain. The tenants are all on a first-name basis, with plenty of time to socialize, deepening the mystery of how they manage to pay rent. While CBS' new single-camera comedy (debuting Feb. 4) is ostensibly about new resident/struggling screenwriter Josh (The TV Set's Fran Kranz) and his crush, acupuncturist Hope (Reba's Joanna Garcia), they're far too bland to hold the center. This place was built for wacky-neighbor tropes.
An oddly manic Chris Klein plays Josh's roommate, accountant Marty, an L.A. cliché so slick he could solve our dependence on foreign oil. Captain lifer Saul (Jeffrey Tambor, missing Arrested Development) and doorman Jesus (The Ortegas' Al Madrigal) are the building's indoor gargoyles, providing stale comic relief and fresh gossip, like dishing on Josh's dalliance with resident cougar Charlene (Raquel Welch). Saul, a TV writer, hasn't worked since Three's Company ''T-Co,'' in his parlance and Jesus (pronounced like the Christian savior) is more inside-entertainment than TMZ.
Sadly, Welcome to the Captain just isn't funny or inspired enough to nail the peek-behind-the-Hollywood-curtain genre; a joke about Wilmer Valderrama's condom budget already feels dated. Besides, this is the new Hollywood, where C-listers beg for reality shows and starlets flash their hoo-has. There's just not a lot of curtain left. C