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Diresta.

(SITCOM; UPN; MON. OCT. 5, 8:30 P.M.)

Filmed in Los Angeles by Paramount Network Television. Executive producer, Matt Goldman; associate producer, Sean O'Brien; producers, Anthony Gentile and Werner Walian; director, John Tracy; writer, Matt Goldman; consultant, John DiResta; director of photography, Frank Raymond; editor, Jesse Hoke; music, Marc Bonilla; casting, Tammara Billik. 30 MIN.

John DiResta              John DiResta
Kate DiResta              Leila Kenzle
Sgt Kazmerek               Joe Guzaldo
Liz Labella              Sandra Pupuro
Pete                     Kevin Crowley
Cal                      David Batiste
Anna DiResta              Karle Warren
Tully                   Erik Palladino
Dakota DiResta   Ruairi and Sean Kenna

John DiResta is the latest comedian attempting to parlay blue collar woes into a lucrative comedy career, cashing in on his 12 years as a New York City Transit cop. Less than a year ago, he was still on the beat, until his one-man Off-Broadway show, "Beat, A Subway Cop's Comedy," caught the attention of UPN prexy Dean Valentine during his days at Disney, the studio where the show was first developed. For DiResta's Cinderella story to have a truly happy ending, the fledgling star should work on cultivating his natural charisma and focus less on the oh-so-zany supporting characters.

DiResta heads the cast as -- no surprises here -- an amiable Long Island Transit cop with shades of Ralph Kramden, who endures the glamorless, low-paying job to keep his wife and two kids in the style that they are accustomed to: a modest, rented house with intrusive neighbors and a hefty supply of Pop-Tarts. His wife Kate (Leila Kenzle) keeps the house running as smoothly as possible, despite the tight demands on the wallet.

Although work and home are equal targets for DiResta's humor, the show's main objective seems to be driving home just how wacky working the Transit beat can be. Bag lady Grandma Woolyhat (Pat Crawford Brown), for example, engages DiResta in mock gangster shoot-outs in the middle of subway station. DiResta's boss, Sgt. Kazmerek (John Guzaldo), patrols the squad room like a prize rooster with a pet dachshund named Napoleon on his arm.

And to make matters worse, DiResta works with his sister-in-law Liz (Sandra Pupuro), who's always threatening to tattle to his wife. Wacky, wacky wacky.

Kenzle, last seen on "Mad About You," brings some pedigree to the freshman show, but so far she's relegated to the thankless stay-at-home mom role, grabbing her biggest laughs from potty humor. DiResta, suffering from Seinfeld Syndrome, seems a little uncomfortable, even with his own material, but that may be something he and writer/creator Matt Goldman can work out.

Still, midnight may strike soon considering DiResta is up against the other working class sitcom, CBS' "King of Queens," and the behemoth that is ABC's Monday Night Football. The technical credits are adequate, but the set looks and feels like stale leftovers from "The John Larroquette Show."

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Author:Freis, Laura
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Television Program Review
Date:Oct 12, 1998
Words:467
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