1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 1 (USA)
16 (22) x 30 minute episodes
The limits of good taste were pushed over the edge in this short-lived CBS “family” sitcom, adapted from the 1989 movie of the same name starring John Candy.
Uncle Buck – played here by Kevin Meaney, a stand-up comedian who bore a passing resemblance to Candy – was one of TV’s more unlikely father figures: a gruff, pudgy, immature, cigar-smoking, beer-drinking mess of a man.
But following the death of his brother and sister-in-law in a car accident, he became guardian to his three nieces and nephews.
16-year-old Tia (Dah-ve Chodan), the oldest, was a bright but lazy, boy-crazy teenager forever trying to get around the household rules by donning miniskirts and black hose to get hot dates.
8-year-old Miles (Jacob Gelman) and 6-year-old Maizy (Sarah Martineck) were typical of TV’s unending stream of wisecracking tots.
Although Buck had moved into the children’s neat suburban home, he continued to invite over his poker-playing buddies Skank (Dennis Cockrum) and Rafer (Thomas Mikal Ford), much to the disgust of the kids’ fearsome grandmother, Mrs Hogoboom (Audrey Meadows).
She found little in Buck to trust as a positive role model and threatened to have his guardianship revoked until she realised that behind that beer belly was a heart of gold.
He did love the kids and tried to guide them along the right path – even if he could not exactly lead by example.
None of the movie’s cast returned for the TV show, and gross-out humour permeated the show.
As a result, the TV version of Uncle Buck was denounced by critics and rejected by viewers.
After two months of struggling against NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the show was moved to Friday evenings but fared no better in the ratings and was cancelled after only sixteen of the twenty-two episode run had aired.
Thomas Mikal Ford