Friday, September 14, 2012

Pilot Review: Guys With Kids

Guys With Kids (NBC)
Premiered September 12 at 10pm

It’s perfectly fine when a show’s title describes its content. But when it defines it entirely, that’s a problem. For Chris, Nick, and Gary, all they talk about is how they have kids and that takes up all of their time. While their situation may be realistic in concept, its execution is extremely irritating, since extra effort is made to emphasize that these guys spend all of their time with their kids. It’s an unfortunate showcase for one actor in particular, Anthony Anderson, who was excellent in the fourth season of FX’s “The Shield” in a villainous dramatic role, and is capable of so much more. Both Jesse Bradford and Zach Cregger have done forgettable shows in the past few years – “Outlaw” and “Friends with Benefits” – and this doesn’t seem to be much better. After playing mobster daughter Meadow on “The Sopranos,” Jamie-Lynn Sigler is trapped as a housewife on this show, with little to do other than to fantasize about a more exciting life. This show uses recycled jokes and familiar humor to build a story around three one-note characters, the single man eternally chained to his ex-wife’s will, the sarcastic dad with a happy marriage, and the stay-at-home father of four. It’s hard to empathize or sympathize with these one-dimensional tropes, and there’s nothing creative about the show’s format to make it compelling. Having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar actually appear in the pilot suggests that there’s no joke or reference too literal, and that this show will really be a dud.

How will it work as a series? These guys are going to walk around every episode with their children strapped around their chests talking about how all they think about is their kids. It would be nice if there were some subplots as well, but based on the pilot’s dense repetitiveness, I wouldn’t count on it. Expect stock plotlines and sitcom setups instead.
How long will it last? The show has garnered terrible reviews from most critics, and its ratings paled in comparison to the debut of “Up All Night” in the same time slot on this night last year. I suspect that it will be among the first cancelled shows of the season, but NBC will give it a chance in its regular 8:30pm slot, where it starts in two weeks, before axing it after one so-so airing.

Pilot grade: F

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