Byline: DAVID KRONKE Tv Critic
`LEAP OF FAITH'' is a bland dish from the video Cuisinart: Just toss middling episodes of ``Friends,'' ``Seinfeld,'' ``Sex and the City,'' that awful assortment of NBC mediacentric females (``Just Shoot Me,'' ``Suddenly Susan,'' ``Caroline in the City'' and those canceled in a a lot more timely vogue), along with the self-conscious quippery of ``Gilmore Girls'' (but not, however, its real wit) into a blender. Set on puree and method right up until all taste is removed.
Tonight's premiere finds uber-perky thirtysomething marketing executive Faith Wardwell (Sarah Paulson) acquiring prewedding jitters and dumping her profitable but awfully oily fiance following succumbing with shocking swiftness to the charms of a cute guy. (Why go to all that difficulties to create that she's single when that can be covered in a easy line of dialogue?)
Faith works with frizzy-haired and -brained Patty (Lisa Edelstein) - believe a tidied-up version of Kim Cattrall's man-eater on ``Sex and the City'' - cooking up unlikely ad campaigns like the third car for two-automobile couples or golf clubs for ladies disinterested in golf.
Her other pals incorporate Andy (Ken Marino), a generic ``Seinfeld'' type of character whose each observation smacks of trivial minutiae, and voice-of-explanation Cynthia (Regina King), the female straight man the other zany characters bounce their idiocies off of. Faith's fatuously arrogant mom (Jill Clayburgh) thinks of every little thing in terms of how it will impact her social standing, so naturally she is apoplectic about canceling the wedding ceremony.
These actors have previously assembled enough irksomely prepackaged mannerisms for a self-happy cast getting into the seventh yr of their series: They are already hermetically sealed in their affectations without ever possessing gone to the difficulty of connecting with an audience. (Their performances appear inspired most by the bouncy posturing of Fox series stars in their promos.) The writing doesn't assist them a lot, both: In two episodes, only one particular line evinced a smile.
When, up garden wedding coming week, Faith whimpers that her potential would seem so undecided, her boy toy du jour responds, ``The question mark (in lifestyle) - which is what can make you come back for a lot more.'' And which is fairly likely why viewers won't want to return to ``Leap of Faith'' - there are no query marks. Its every phase is telegraphed far in advance, maybe as far back as 1997's ``Fired Up,'' one more comparable and similarly uninspired location-holder on NBC's Thursday lineup.
LEAP OF FAITH - Two stars
What: New York singles. Substantial jinks. Quips. You know, the typical.
Where: NBC (Channel 4).
When: eight:30 tonight.
Sarah Paulson plays the title part in NBC's ``Leap of Faith.''
The cynical Baltimore writer H.L.