Television history is full of detective shows, and they need to be distinctive if they’re going to survive. Jim Rockford dealt with his dad, tried to avoid danger and dealt with an ex-con friend who would sell him out as easily as help him. Quincy couldn’t do much against a live criminal, but could expose corruption and identify murderers if given enough time with a corpse. Hill Street Blues were always careful out there, and Columbo had just one more thing…
What none of them had was a robot partner.
The “high concept” show remade Hymie the robot from Get Smart and made him into the partner of a police detective in a humorous take on the classic “buddy cop” show. Police humor had been done before, with everything from Car 54, Where Are You? to Barney Miller, but this short-lived 1976 television show reminded everyone watching that comedy writing can be difficult.
To be fair, most sitcoms don’t age well. People remember the good episodes and the bad or mediocre ones fade from memory, so watching any but the cleverest of them is often underwhelming. That truth does not make Holmes & Yoyo better.
It starred two veteran actors, John Schuck and Richard B. Schull. Schuck had demonstrated comedy chops as “Painless” in the movie M*A*S*H and had spent years earning love from detective show fans as Sgt. Enright on McMillan & Wife. Schull had a string of lesser roles on television shows and was being given his chance at a breakout. That breakout didn’t happen… but he did get a full season of paychecks out of the deal, and his place in memorably bad television was secured.
Here’s the pilot, and one of the episodes after the show had worked out the minor kinks that come from a new series.
Question of the night : What’s your favorite sitcom episode?