Fans of ''Freaks and Geeks" probably have an affection for Busy Philipps, who played Kim Kelly on that quickly canceled series. But those warm feelings will probably only get them through a few minutes of her new sitcom, ''Love, Inc.," before the remote control beckons. The show, premiering tonight at 9:30 on Channel 38, is so shrill and Philipps is so hammy, it's all just too much.
The obvious premise has Philipps's Denise working at a dating service, helping singles find love and even serving as their wing woman. She's a self-appointed know-it-all when it comes to flirting. But, of course, she is also a lonely single who could use some help, too. Indeed, all of her co-workers at Love, Inc., are romantically challenged, including Viviana (Ion Overman), who needs a husband to get a green card, and Clea (Holly Robinson Peete), who's getting divorced. It's the same irony that failed to make Alicia Silverstone's ''Miss Match" very interesting a couple of years ago.
Each character on ''Love, Inc." is a one-joke affair, particularly Viviana. Actually, Viviana exists to make two jokes -- she's desperate for her green card, and there is no end to the humor of a Latin accent. It's hard to believe Overman is the same interesting actress who had an affair with Bette on ''The L Word." Barry (Vince Vieluf) is the geek in the office, whose one joke is that he's a conspiracy theorist won't even use store-bought toothpaste. The writers apparently find his paranoia no end of fun.
What ''Love, Inc." needs is to be fixed up with a nice single show doctor. He could get Philipps to relax her face and cool it with the mugging, he could tell the lighting department to dial it down, he could provide hearing aids for the laugh track operators, and he could give the writers a prescription for subtlety. Then maybe the show will have a chance to meet the audience of its dreams.
Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.