Question: I remember a TV series that ran on CBS (I think) called Chicken Soup. Looking it up, I learned that it was from 1989, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Kathryn Erbe was in it, but that's about it. You're my last hope. Can you tell me anything about this series? — Larry P., Akron, Ohio

Televisionary: Only that it was yet another misfired attempt to give a stand-up comic a high-profile primetime vehicle. (Not that there's anything wrong with trying, mind you — Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld sure prove that it's worth a shot — but I get really tired of the lamer efforts.)

As you say, it lasted just three months in 1989, but ABC gets the blame for this one, not CBS. Jackie Mason played an over-the-top Jewish ex-salesman (and if you didn't pick up on the ethnic angle quickly enough, the title and every other joke bludgeoned you with it) who volunteered at an urban community center, where he met an Irish-Catholic widow (Lynn Redgrave). Their mixed relationship drew fire from both families but didn't manage to heat up the audience, who ignored the show in droves.

As you say, Erbe did time on the series, playing Redgrave's oldest daughter. Johnny Pinto and Alisan Porter were the other two siblings.