"Alas, there was neither zaniness nor fun to be found at "Amanda’s." In lieu of the harried, neurotic, unhappily married Basil Fawlty, the U.S. version offered the recently widowed hotel proprietor Amanda. She was sardonic, scheming and truculent, and her acidic comments were aimed at her wimpy adult son, his self-centered wife, a cheerful but inefficient cook and the accident-prone Italian bellboy Aldo (played by Tony Rosato, formerly part of the “SCTV” and “Saturday Night Live” ensembles). Amanda frequently relied on physical violence to punish Aldo’s seemingly endless mistakes, but Arthur’s inability to handle slapstick and Rosato’s unusually realistic reactions to her blows made the assaults look vicious and pathetic rather than funny.
Even if one could forget that “Fawlty Towers” ever existed, “Amanda’s” could never stand on its own. The scripts inevitably collapsed under a skein of name-calling and painfully contrived scenarios, and the direction of the episodes was badly paced. Arthur appeared to be on autopilot most of the time, and she only sparkled when old-timers like Vivian Blaine and Robert Alda turned up in guest spots. Kevin McCarthy attempted to inject some energetic line-readings into his role as Zack, but his character was so poorly defined – intrusive at one moment, charismatic the next – that his presence only added to the confusion."
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