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The Knights of Prosperity

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It’s a shame that ABC discarded this show’s quirky original title, Let’s Rob … , in favor of The Knights of Prosperity, which sounds less like a comedy than like a quasi-racist Elks Lodge for upbeat, small-town Babbitts. Admittedly, at first glance, the show doesn’t deserve much better, with its platoon of cliché ethnic standbys salvaged from the worst of Seinfeld: the fast-talking Indian cabdriver; the superhot Latina waitress; the large, fat black man who delivers deadpan asides in a Barry White baritone. Yet despite these impediments, The Knights of Prosperity is, in its first episode at least, yet another fresh and funny rebuke to the pronouncement that the sitcom is dead. (See also the getting-funnier-by-the-week 30 Rock.) If anything, sitcoms have at last been liberated from three-camera living rooms and stale domestic bickering, with shows like Prosperity offering just the opposite: an off-kilter, anything-goes humor that owes more to The Simpsons than The Honeymooners. Donal Logue stars as Eugene Gurkin, a fed-up custodian who rallies his hapless friends around a plot to knock over the impenetrable apartment of Mick Jagger (who plays himself, gleefully). Logue’s always deserved a great TV vehicle; instead, he got Fox’s Grounded for Life. It’s gratifying, then, to discover him here, anchoring an ensemble comedy worthy of his odd, hefty-doofus charms.

ABC, Premieres Wednesday, January 3, 9 p.m.


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