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Review: TV Land's 'Kirstie'

Former Cheers star Kirstie Alley returns to the small screen with some familiar friends in TV Land’s funny new comedy series Kirstie.

Alley plays celebrated and self-absorbed Broadway star Madison “Maddie” Banks, whose life gets turned upside down when Arlo Barth (Eric Petersen), the son she gave up at birth 26 years ago, suddenly appears in her life, looking to connect after the death of his adoptive parents.

The revelation stuns Maddie’s best friend and personal assistant Thelma Katz (Alley’s Cheers co-star Rhea Perlman) and her eccentric driver Frank Baxter (Seinfeld’s Michael Richards). Both react to the news better than Maddie, who initially looks to quickly dismiss her underachieving, but sweet offspring in order to maintain her lavish, carefree lifestyle.

Things between Maddie and Arlo come to a head when she refuses to acknowledge him as her son to her close industry friends during a formal party at her home. She even gives her son a waiter’s jacket so as not to stand out among the crowd. Disappointed and hurt, Arlo decides he made a mistake in seeking out Madison and vows to stay out of her life forever.

Wracked with guilt and guided by her motherly instincts, Maddie eventually seeks out Arlo to make amends and to give their relationship another try. This leads to some humorous situations, including a very messy donut fight and an impromptu mother/son talk in front of hundreds of Broadway-goers.

Kirstie is a funny, entertaining sitcom with heart and a lot of star power. Comedy veterans Alley, Perlman and Richards work well together and Petersen holds his own. The second episode features Kristin Chenoweth as Maddie’s manipulative and conniving understudy — the first of a slew of guest star appearances in the series from veteran actors such as John Travolta, Jason Alexander, Kathy Griffin, Cloris Leachman, George Wendt and Kristen Johnson (TV Land’s The Exes).

While Kirstie will not make viewers forget about Cheers and Seinfeld, fans of those sitcoms will nevertheless enjoy watching several alums of those classic shows ply their comedic talent in this likeable TV Land original series.