Screensavors: Wedding bell blues

Getting married isn't pretty. But the problem with HOT 3's new Big Day is that it's not particularly funny either.

Getting married isn't pretty. We still remember considering calling in a hit man to knock off our own family on the morning of our big day. But the problem with HOT 3's new Big Day (Mondays, 9:15 p.m.) is that not only is the wedding here not pretty, it's not particularly funny either. This new show, about the 10-hour run-up to a wedding at the home of the upscale Hawkins family, made us vow that two episodes were enough - more than enough. It also made us wonder which HOT exec green-lighted syndicating the series, which wastes a wonderful actress like Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me, Dream On, Frasier) - an unforgivable sin. The premise is simple enough: It's 8 a.m. at the Hawkins household, and Alice, the bride, and Danny, the groom are "10 hours away from getting married!" as she declares while discouraging her beau from one last make-out session under her father's roof. Meanwhile, Danny's best friend Jay is in bed in the next room with Alice's over-sexed sister Becca, who promptly drinks Jay's contact lenses, left in a glass of water next to the bed, leaving him legally blind for the rest of the show. We should only be so lucky. "Next door" is a big deal in this moronic series, which shifts quickly between rooms to show you how cool it is to do that. Too bad nothing interesting or funny is going on in any of them. There is the stressed out wedding planner Lorna (Stephnie Weir of MadTV); a variety of friends showing up for the affair, including Alice's old college boyfriend Johnny, who keeps discussing his former trysts with the bride; a black friend of the groom who keeps hitting on him; and a variety of useless photographers, makeup people, etc. The show also suffers from Jack Bauer Disease, wherein a digital readout of how much time remains until the Big Event must be displayed before every scene. But it's clear time is running out for this series from the beginning, with jokes about old TV theme songs and Caesar salad trying desperately to coax laughs out of us. It doesn't work. Poor Malick is left here playing shrewish control freak mom Jane. "I am the uptight, stressed-out wife you always wanted" she says to her husband, who wonders why her old boyfriend Bob's invited to the wedding. Turns out mom's got a hankering for hash, and Bob is bringing "the good stuff." Unfortunately, she doesn't offer us any to get through this awful show. Predictable (a photographer stepping further back into the road to get a better shot of the house is… hit by a car, of course), annoying (most of the second episode is focused on the bride stuck in the bathroom) and just not funny, Big Day did succeed in making us remember what a wise decision it was to arrive in the US just five days ahead of our own wedding. We can think of about a dozen other wedding-related offerings that were far better than this - Four Weddings and a Funeral, Father of the Bride and Confetti come to mind - if you're thinking of tying the knot and want to sort out the various hazards. Any of them can guarantee more laughs than this ABC loser, whose second episode ends with Danny having saved the day by spending his life savings - $300 - on enough lettuce to make that Caesar salad his bride's got her heart set on. That's a lot of green, but unfortunately, a well-balanced TV sitcom diet requires more than just vegetables. Since bringing us The Office, HOT 3's been way off its game in attracting new comedies. There's no reason to sit through this one. As the photographer gets hit by that car, the mother of the bride wonders aloud: "Why does this have to happen to me?" Anyone spending more than 10 minutes with this dreadful sitcom will probably wonder the same thing.