BLACK TIE AFFAIR. 29 May 1993. NBC, 30m. Bradley Whitford (PI Dave Brodsky), Kate Capshaw, John Calvin, Bruce McGill, Alison Elliott. Written & directed by Jay Tarses.

   Somebody thought the idea behind this show was a good one, at least at the beginning. A comedy spoof of a PI show? They must have thought laughs galore. And so not only did it make it onto the air, but it lasted all of five episodes before they decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

   Thirteen were on the schedule, with the story to be played out over the run. I’ve just watched the first one on YouTube, and as long as it stays there, you can, too. In it PI Dave Brodsky is hired to follow a husband whom his wife – and his client – thinks he is having an affair with another woman, and she wants him followed. Disguised as a bellhop at a convention in which the husband is to be given a Man of the Year award, Brodsky finds a woman dead in the room in which the liaison is to take place – but the dead woman, surprisingly enough, apparently is not the woman he planned to liaison with.

   End of installment one. Besides the fact that it is barely in focus, you don’t need to watch the embedded video if you don’t want to. There are some amusing lines, but everything is so overplayed, it’s not funny. Not even a laugh track would have helped. What’s most surprising is that it lasted five weeks.

PostScript: Every reference to the show I’ve found online (not many) is eager to point out that the working title for the series while it was in production was Smoldering Lust. Ha! False advertising there.