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I think the original idea for this sitcom was "M*A*S*H in a grocery store" and under different circumstances it really could've worked, too. They had one of the funniest, most versatile comic actors in the lead role. The setting, a supermarket, was one most North Americans were keenly familiar with. However, they could never really pull this off.
Don Adams was cast as floor manager of a lovely bunch of coconuts...produce department, who envisioned themselves as nuttier than fruitcakes...bakeshop. His assistant Edna (Dinah Christie) was the voice of sanity amid the clamor of doofus-ness...next aisle, Ma'am. The cast was bolstered by veteran Canadian comics Henry Beckman, Barbara Hamilton, as well as the pure, but hot (kid's show "Polka Dot Door" star) Tonya Lee Williams.
The problem with C.I.O. was probably not so much the mediocre writing, but in the production values. It just looked cheap right from the opening credits, until the last groan-worthy excuse for a punchline. Perhaps the Canadian producers hadn't yet heard that cardboard sets were meant for high school musicals, not internationally syndicated sitcoms.
I shouldn't pan the show entirely. Don Adams was a brilliant comic actor who went on to better things, managing to overcome this turkey...meat department. His co-star Dinah Christie was OK in this show, too. Who didn't love Henry Beckman, veteran of Canadian commercials and sitcoms? Tonya Williams got edgier as she grew older, becoming a star of character roles and soaps...aisle 7. Arguably the most successful actor of the supporting troupe. To me, however, she'll always remain that pure young thing behind the Cobb's cash register.
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