Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on August 27, 1989 · Page 217
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 217

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 27, 1989
Page 217
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Going for broker Popular walk-on now lists her own 'Open House' i BUD WILKINSON Republic Columnist "(Linda) has an opportunity to say a lot of things that people always want to say and always feel it too offensive to say." Actress Alison La Placa Alison La Placa has gone from afterthought to focal point playing the go-getting, acerbic Linda Phillips. Originally cast to guest star on two episodes of Fox's now-defunct Duet series, she became a regular and now is the star of its spinoff. Open House. Open House, set in a real-estate office with La Placa playing opposite Philip Charles Mackenzie, premieres at 9:30 p.m. Sunday on KNXV-TV (Channel 15). ' "It's always been surprising and always fun," La Placa said of her character's growth. "She's very single-minded, but it's a non-malicious single-mind-edness. She can be truly bitchy and at the same time be likable because it's just that she doesn't believe k can be any other way but the way she sees it. "She has an opportunity to say a lot of things that people always . want to say and always feel it too offensive to sav, or (are) afraid to say." With the switch from Duet to Open House, some roles have been redefined while others have been eliminated. Chris Lemmon's part as Linda's husband, Richard, has been reduced; Mary Page Keller's role as caterer Laura Kelly, who was the center of attention as Duet was originally conceived, likewise has been reduced. Laura will change jobs and become a broker at the Juan Verde Real Estate office, where Linda got a job on the final Duet episode. Gone from the show will be Matthew Laurance, who played Laura's beau, and Jodi Thelen, who played Laura's sister Jane. The new setting and new thrust provide greater opportunity for conflict and humor. It's a safe bet that MacKenzie will claim co-ownership of the show within a I I H - Ik Fox Broadcasting Alison La Placa stars in Open House with Philip Charles MacKenzie. The series premieres at 9:30 p.m. Sunday on KNXV-TV (Channel 1 5). matter of weeks. He's a strong personality, and a good counterbalance to La Placa. When the two of them getting into it, everyone else is relegated to window dressing. MacKenzie is perhaps best-known for the homosexual character of Donald on Showtime's Brothers sitcom. "I never had any bad reactions (to Donald)," MacKenzie reported. "Never. Not one bad fan letter. Not one bad reaction from anyone on the street. "The best was just people thanking me if I helped them learn a little something about human relationship. I must say, I'm extremely proud of my five years on Brothers doing Donald." His new character, Ted Nichols on Open House, appears to be the type who will do anything for a sale or a promotion. "He's not crooked. He's not a crooked, sleazy broker at all. He is an incredible workaholic and he loves the action, the selling, buying it's the action," MacKenzie said. "In my mind, he can make S2 million a year, and that's OK, but it's the action he really likes. I think he gets so deeply involved in his work and the action that many times (it's) at the expense of his personal life." When MacKenzie and La Placa met with TV columnists in Los Angeles last month, MacKenzie was himself hunting for property. "The broker I'm dealing with knows me from Brothers in the past I told him what I was doing and he was saying, 'Youre not going to make us look bad, are you?' " Bad, no. Crazed, yes. There might be a little nervousness on the part of the real-estate community because of Open ' House, MacKenzie said. Such apprehension is warranted. Where Duet was cute, Open House is tart. It crackles along, exhibiting better writing and much funnier interplay than its predecessor. Open House deserves at least a walk-through. Rating: -August 27, 1989 Television, The Arizona Republic Page 3

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