This short-lived but memorable sitcom managed to fuse science fiction, slapstick comedy, and cop-show thrills. It focused on an accident-prone policeman named Holmes. His bad luck never got him injured but had the unfortunate side effect of causing him to go through partners at an alarming rate. The powers-that-be decided to counteract this unfortunate tendency by giving him a non-flesh-and-blood partner.
His new partner was Yoyo, an android robot named after its creator, Dr. Yoyonovich. Yoyo was an impressive 425-pound piece of machinery that had a photographic memory, could produce color prints of what it saw, and had an internal trash compactor that allowed it to digest anything (even explosives). However, Yoyo was not without his flaws: his internal machinery often picked up a radio station from Sweden, and when his circuits shorted out he would repeat the words ‘Bunko squad’ over and over again. On one occasion, a bullet injured his ‘rhythm system,’ causing him to tap-dance uncontrollably in the middle of a chase.
Captain Sedford, Holmes’ superior, thought he was putting one over on Holmes because he didn’t tell Holmes that Yoyo was a robot. Holmes figured it out quickly enough, but few others did. A fellow officer, Maxine Moon, actually fell for Yoyo and made several advances at the hapless bot, who, unfortunately, was not programmed for love. The show balanced out this kind of slapstick-infused identity confusion with surprisingly realistic depictions of crime and police work
Holmes and Yoyo was produced by Leonard Stern. He had previously produced Get Smart, which had the same kind of deadpan humor that the new show aspired to. Stern told the press that he hoped that Holmes and Yoyo would become a classic comedy team along the lines of Abbott and Costello or Martin and Lewis. However, this was not to be: the show was cancelled within three months of its debut. Just the same, Holmes and Yoyo will always be remembered by sitcom fans for mixing an unusual premise with a surprisingly old-fashioned sense of humor.
USA / ABC – Universal / 16×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 25 September – 11 December 1976
Writers: Jack Sher, Lee Hewitt / Producer: Arne Sultan / Executive Producer: Leonard Stern
Richard B. Shull as Det. Alexander Holmes
John Schuck as Gregory “Yoyo” Yoyonovich
Bruce Kirby as Capt. Harry Sedford
Andrea Howard as Officer Maxine Moon