A smart and charming show from the world of Lite TV
"Austin Stories" follows in a less-traveled comedy tradition of quietly delightful programs. These use appealing characters who, through misunderstanding, a misplaced eagerness to be of assistance, or unfortunate happenstance, find themselves caught up in awful situations that can often be downright hilarious. The ancient TV program, "Mr. Peepers," which starred, among others, Wally Cox and Tony Randall, was probably the first and best of these shows. Like "Mr. Peepers" and the still-missed "WKRP in Cincinnati," the performers are mostly amiable and young, some of them slated for fame, but the majority never to be heard from again.The problem with shows like this is that they don't rely too heavily on exaggeration or grotesquerie. Result: their wispiness can get mistaken for wimpiness. So while "Austin Stories" adroitly stays away from twee and cuteness,its easy-going tone can puzzle the viewer looking for slam-dunk jokes and in-your-face humor. It never did find its audience, but, then again, it probably never looked too hard.
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