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"It's Like, You Know..."

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Against my will, I actually laughed all the way through three episodes of "It's Like, You Know . . ." (Wednesdays, starting March 24; 8:30 to 9 p.m.; ABC), the new sitcom from Peter Mehlman, who was co-executive producer of Seinfeld. We are asked to enjoy the vile slumming of a neurotic New York journalist in a sun-baked, soft-brained City of Angels. Chris Eigeman ("Being me doesn't really require my full attention") intends to write an I-hate-L.A. book while sponging off such leisure-class friendlies as his ex-college roommate Steven Eckholdt, who got rich marketing the High Holy Days on cable TV (Pay-Per-Jew), and oddball do-nothing plutocrat Evan Handler, who just happens to have "one of the largest private collections of money in the world." They're abetted in their slacker antics by the always delicious A. J. Langer, a masseuse who moonlights as a process-server and who is contemplating going to a chiropractor school with a drive-through window ("She's so cute I feel like dunking her in my coffee"), and Jennifer Grey, who is playing herself after cosmetic surgery in an American Express Card commercial ("Don't change your face without it"). It is also Grey who explains that "talking to people who aren't in show business is like talking to children."

So there are jokes about raisins in the pastrami and Elliott Gould in a Honda and sit-ins at Spago to protest the no-smoking ordinance. About "amnesiologists" who perform "amnectomies" to surgically remove whatever you'd rather forget. And about how come an escaping felon in a freeway chase on "live" TV ("It's like our version of a snow day") doesn't take a hostage so he can use the car-pool lane. There are even jokes about J. D. Salinger, John Updike, and Harvard. My favorite so far may be the spirited serious discussion of why, after the war, Germany didn't change its name to something nicer -- like, say, Aspen? Well, I grew up in that place where "the murder trials last two years and the marriages last two months," so obviously I'm prejudiced. But it seems to me that ABC could have here an ideal lead-in for Sports Night, the best network comedy not enough of us are watching.


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