Pilot Review: GUYS WITH KIDS
The pilot hit list of the TV season 2012/2013. Which one is the best TV pilot of that season, and which one is the worst?
01. Puberty Blues (Drama, Channel 10) – with a rating of 7.5
02. Elementary (Drama, CBS) – 7
03. Major Crimes (Drama, TNT) – 7
04. The New Normal (Comedy, NBC) – 6
05. Copper (Drama, BBC America) – 5.5
06. Go On (Comedy, NBC) – 5.5
07. The Inbetweeners (Comedy, MTV) – 5
08. Animal Practice (Comedy, NBC) – 3.5
Season 1, Episode 1
Date of airing: Sep 12, 2012 (NBC)
Nielsen ratings information: 6.25 million viewers, 2.2/6 with A18-49
It is time to realize that multicam sitcoms not airing on CBS are no audience magnets anymore. It is time to accept that those kind of TV shows look old, don’t have anything to offer story-wise or in character depth, and are rarely funny. So, why are network executives, who don’t work for CBS, still trying to get multicam sitcoms on the air? Even they should know it’s just not working anymore. Except when you work at CBS. GUYS WITH KIDS was just one big serving of boredom. Nothing was interesting, everything was crap, and even the jokes were pure clichés from the 90s in television. The pilot might look solid at first, but at the end it’s just another day in sitcom paradise, where the work in television looks like it came straight from the 90s into our future. And sorry, but you can’t get new audiences with that business strategy anymore (except you have a contract with CBS).
To make it really short, nothing worked here. The characters were sitcom clichés and clumsily written, the dialogue was stiff and boring, the punch lines weren’t working. And on top of that, the stories weren’t good enough to introduce the characters. In fact, there were just standard procedure for any comedy on a broadcast network, and this in any episode, whether it be the (season) premiere or finale, or any episode in the season. GUYS WITH KIDS uses Chris’ (Jesse Bradford) (first?) date to introduce him to the audience, while the “Titanic romance” shows you why Nick (Zach Cregger) and Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) love each other deeply. But since I wasn’t able to connect with the characters, their stories and parenthood problems completely went by me, and after ten minutes, I was just waiting for this episode to end. No value, no message for the audience, not even a way to the punchline.
Just look at Gary (Anthony Anderson) for a minute here: He might have gotten the best material out of the script, but the “four kids” joke was brought three times (and it wasn’t funny the first time around), while the “kid on the leash” was just stupidity at its best – a joke sledgehammered into your brain, since it was probably not obvious to you in the beginning of the shopping scene that there is a kid at the end of Gary’s leash. Or the fact that he hates being at home with his kids all the time, completely forgetting that there was something called “fun” in his life… Another gag brought at least twice. When the writers don’t even know how to be funny in the pilot, instead repeating punch lines, how is the rest of the season going to look like?
The cast did what it could do best with that script: being happy they have a job in television for a few weeks. Because I don’t see that show surviving for very long. Jamie Lynn-Sigler is a total hottie, but her playing a mom in a multicam comedy? Wasted talent (and let us not ask how much talent she actually has, I know she doesn’t have the greatest). Anthony Anderson as a stressed dad? Wasted talent. Damn, I know this guy is a great comedy guy, but he has already proven he can do better. The rest of the cast is completely forgettable, with the exception of Erinn Hayes, but only because I know her from WORST WEEK. And because her character looked pretty stupid besides that basketball guy whose name I forgot. By the way: I find it very believable that a sitcom audience, whose laughter you hear in shows like this, would go “uuuhh” and “aaahh”, when they see a basketball player in the show, whose name I haven’t even heard of in my life. And I know the internet. I use Twitter. I watch TV. And I haven’t seen that guy with that name before. Whoever that guy is…
All in all, I’m not surprised Jimmy Fallon had the idea and produces this. He might be growing into his job as Late Night host, but this guy can’t do anything else but hosting a talk show. He should stick to that. He can surely produce stuff (Conan O’Brien is doing the same, with less success), but he should stop creating fictional shows for television and be part of the writing team. First, he’s gonna have to make the Late Night show funnier… 3/10