Sunday, October 5, 2008

What I'm Watching: 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.

Gary Unmarried: Season 1, Episode 2 "Gary Gets Boundaries" (C-)

In its second installment, "Gary Unmarried" offers more of the same kind of comedy it did in its first attempt, but little of the promise. Jay Mohr seems determined to shout all of his lines, and it doesn’t make him a terribly compelling character. The biggest disappointment of the episode is its clich├ęd setup. Painter Gary finds that his back can’t keep up with the furious amounts of sex he and his new girlfriend are having. Instead of telling her that, as a normal person might do, he spends the length of the episode attempting to find ways to hide his debilitating pain, turning even to his ex-wife rather than his girlfriend so as to feel like more of a man in the sack. The chemistry between Mohr and Jaime King does work very well, and it’s perhaps the show’s greatest asset. Paula Marshall, despite overdoing it a bit, does provide an amusing eternal antagonist to the selfish but well-intending Gary as his ex-wife. The marriage therapist played by Ed Begley Jr. is a character who shouldn’t really be a series regular because he has no business appearing in every episode, but the people behind the show are clearly wise enough to realize that keeping Begley around is in everyone’s best interest. He’s by far the best, and also the funniest, actor on the show. What’s most jarring about this episode is the sudden replacement of the actress who plays Gary’s daughter. I noted two weeks ago before the show’s premiere that Laura Marano’s role has been recast and Gary’s daughter Louise would now be played by Kathryn Newton. I was surprised to note that Marano was in fact in last week’s episode, and now Newton has taken over the part. Her hair color has changed, but her screen time has not. The actress switch is not acknowledged in the episode. It seems like most of the focus on Gary’s offspring will be on his son Tom, who continues to have plotlines which put him in sexual situations way over his head (this time, his girlfriend needs to be on top of him at all times). The show bears a striking resemblance to fellow CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men," which relishes in sexual humor which is just barely allowable on network television. Gary Unmarried isn’t nearly as crude as "Two and a Half Men," but with a few more subtle comments about Gary’s son “getting hand,” it may just get there.

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