Indiana Daily Student


8 p.m. Wednesday, CBS

With a catchy theme song and a charismatic star, "Bette" actually manages to rise above typical sitcom mediocrity. The premise of Bette Midler's star vehicle (basically she plays herself) seems very thin at first glance, but Midler's bawdy, slightly egotistical portrayal of her alter ego is actually pretty humorous. Watching Bette (strangely the character has no last name) react to the situations around her is kind of like watching "I Love Lucy" reruns. Except instead of Lucy plotting to further Ricky's career and messing things up, Bette plots to further her own career and messes it up.\nUnfortunately, the other half of Bette's life, interaction with her normal-guy husband and teenage daughter, fall flat. None of the show's co-stars, with the possible exception of Joanna Gleason as best buddy Corinne, bring the same kind of explosive energy to their roles. Maybe this was done purposely to make it even more obvious that Bette is supposed to be unique and quirky, but it was a mistake. "Bette" can get by simply on Midler's charm for a few episodes, but the key to a long-running successful sitcom is a crackerjack ensemble cast. It's time to get some new co-stars or a cast-wide shot of adrenaline.

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