Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pilot Review: Gary Unmarried

I'm covering this show on a weekly basis for a reviewing course I'm taking. I'll copy my thoughts onto this blog every week as well. All the usual pilot stuff I write should be embedded in this longform post.

Gary Unmarried (CBS)
Premiered September 24 at 8:30pm

Gary Unmarried aired its pilot episode this Wednesday, September 24th. The episode contained numerous moments that had been aired many times during promotional advertisements. Lead actor Jay Mohr is, as expected, not as thoroughly obnoxious or sleazy as usual, but with his toned-down demeanor, he actually comes off as rather bland. At times, his effort to be a regular guy results in his overdoing it (like when he attempts to mock his ex-wife). He also shouts all the time for some reason. The series positions Gary’s children as fairly major characters, and as other shows often do, the kids are made out to be far more mature and knowledgeable than they should be at their age – Gary’s daughter, for instance, has pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and Al Gore which adorn her wall, and Gary teases her for it. The show does contain some hilarious lines, such as Gary’s son telling his dad he’s worried that a girl might want him to “tap it,” after which he admits to his dad that he has no idea what it means. The show clings to such one-liners, and it’s usually effective. The laugh track is used well, highlighting the funny bits and making the rest seem funnier that it is. It’s a generally pleasant experience, with decent enough performances form the lead players. Jaime King (Gary’s new girlfriend Vanessa) and Ed Begley Jr. (Gary’s former marriage counselor Dr. Krandall, who’s now engaged to his ex-wife) are the standouts among the cast. The show does contain an unfortunate amount of situations that would never actually happen, like the spontaneous therapy session between Gary and Vanessa mediated by Dr. Krandall. It’s a situational comedy that’s trying to overcompensate for a thin premise, and it’s doing a somewhat impressive job. Having Gary find a girlfriend so immediately limits his potential in the sense that he’ll only have that one shot of introducing his family to the woman he’s dating. Perhaps the elimination of that potentially predictable gimmick will strengthen the show, but I fear that this series will quickly becoming tiring after a few weeks.

Pilot grade: C+