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Call Me Kat.jpg

Mayim Bialik stars as Kat, the owner of a cat café in Louisville, Kentucky, who loves her single life in spite of the objections of her mother, in the new FOX comedy, “Call Me Kat,” premiering at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3.

There’s a lot to like about FOX’s new comedy, “Call Me Kat,” but there’s also some things to dislike about it. And unfortunately, one of those things looms so large that it pretty much ruins the entire show.

Based on the BBC UK series “Miranda,” “Call Me Kat” stars Mayim Bialik as Kat, who upon the death of her father, quits her teaching job and spends her entire savings to open a cat café in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Kat loves her single life, but her mother, Sheila (Swoosie Kurtz), sees a 39-year-old single woman as a failure. But when her college crush, Max (Cheyenne Jackson), returns to town and starts working near the café, Kat’s attitude about being single forever begins to change. Offering her advice and moral support are her employees and friends, Randi (Kyla Pratt) and Phil (Leslie Jordan).

There is no question that Bialik is incredibly talented and “Kat” is a perfect showcase for her. Kat is a character that’s right up her alley, plus we get to hear her sing and see her dance and show off her physical comedy skills. She gets great support from the always welcome Kurtz and the always hilarious Jordan. And Pratt provides some fun spunk while Jackson is absolutely adorable.

Both episodes I watched had several laugh-out-loud moments, mostly due to Kat’s anxiety when trying to talk to Max. The story she makes up to try to sound more impressive to him is particularly hilarious. Jim Parsons (Sheldon, “The Big Bang Theory”), who executive produces the show with Bialik, clearly knew what he was doing when he asked his former TV wife to become involved with the show he was developing.

The problem is that “Kat” breaks the fourth wall as Kat speaks directly to the audience on numerous occasions. If it were just at the beginning and/or end of the show, or even in cute timeout moments a la “Saved By the Bell,” it wouldn’t be so bad. But the show uses the device constantly. Kat can barely make it through a conversation without addressing the audience in some manner, so the constant intrusion becomes rather annoying rather quickly. The show’s creators say that it’s meant to give us more insight into Kat, but I would argue that we can learn much more about Kat by just letting Bialik do her thing. Her comedic skills can convey that she’s anxious about speaking to Max without her turning to the camera to tell us.

In a recent interview, Bialik said she was nervous about carrying the show. She needn’t be as she is sensational as a leading lady. It would be nice if the show simply acknowledged that and let her shine instead of trying to mess things up by attempting to be clever.

“Call Me Kat” premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3, before moving to its regular time period at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, on FOX.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.