Jason Alexander, best known for his role as a whiny, self-absorbed New Yorker on “Seinfeld,” is now starring in the new sitcom “Bob Patterson” as a whiny, self-absorbed Californian named (you guessed it folks) Bob Patterson.
Unlike “Seinfeld”s” George Costanza, Bob has a very successful career as a self-help guru who spouts cheesy lines like ” “No” is only “yes” to a different question” (Hey, didn”t I hear that at a party last weekend?). He also has his own books and very own infomercial starring none other than John Tesh. Alas, Bob is losing his edge, perhaps because his wife, Janet (Jennifer Aspen, from “Party of Five”) has left him. Adding to Bob”s problems is his inept staff (Chandra Wilson as Claudia the wheelchair bound assistant, comedian Robert Klein as Landau, Bob”s assistant and Phil Buckman as Vic the intern) that are driving him crazy.
If the appearance of Tesh isn”t enough to hook you on the series, perhaps the humor (“Seinfeld” minus the cleverness) is. Instead of innuendo-laced episodes referring to contests or female body parts, Bob talks about how he is so short that he looks like he is giving a Lewinsky to John Tesh. Although I spent the rest of the show trying to get that nasty image out of my head, I did notice jokes that were offensive to blacks, gays, women, the handicapped and real musicians. “Seinfeld”s” jokes were often bordering on the offensive too, but somehow they seemed more acceptable than “Bob Patterson”s” did, perhaps because they were actually funny.
Truthfully, “Bob Patterson” is nothing like “Seinfeld,” except in the irritating quality of Alexander”s character. While the three other members of the “Seinfeld” cast kept Alexander”s character from becoming grating, in “Bob Patterson” this whininess is brought to the forefront and amplified by the neurotic guru”s self-help tips and hang-ups about relationships. In short, this sitcom does not come close to the clever humor of “Seinfeld” it does not even manage to be funny.