Friday, October 2, 2015

Pilot Review: Grandfathered

Grandfathered (FOX)
Premiered September 29 at 8pm

It is a time-honored tradition of creating shows about people who suddenly discover that they have a child, a fact that changes their lives irreparably as they go from free playboy to someone who has to be much more responsible. Usually, that news doesn’t come with the additional information that the child you never knew also has a child of its own, and therein lies the creative hook of this cleverly-titled new FOX comedy. Most TV fans are familiar with John Stamos for his role as loveable Uncle Jesse on “Full House,” and here he’s playing a different character, someone who at times could be mistaken for a kindhearted person who actually thinks about others but is usually self-involved and interested only in having a good time and being successful. That transformation is what TV shows are made of, and I imagine it should proceed along about as expected. Fortunately, Stamos is surrounded by a decent cast, including Josh Peck as his son, Paget Brewster as his son’s mother, Christina Milian as the mother of his granddaughter, and Kelly Jenrette as his disapproving employee. The formula here isn’t superb, but the show could be fun and endearing if given the opportunity. I’m not expecting much, and most of the pilot involved jokes and scenes that I had seen in the series trailer. In due time, this show could get there, and I don’t see a major reason why it’s not worth sticking around to find out if it’s more than just a funny premise.

How will it work as a series? The relationship between Stamos’ Jimmy and his awkward son Gerald is surprisingly smooth, though Jimmy has a thing or two to teach him about romance and social cues. Them getting along should be positive as he tries to navigate being a grandfather, a setup that could end up getting very gimmicky but might also be heartwarming and entertaining.
How long will it last? It’s hard to know at this point, but FOX should be feeling pretty good at having its two new comedies open to expected numbers with some of its other series not returning until midseason (or at all). Generally positive reviews help too, so for now, I’d put this one on the list for a likely renewal as long as ratings don’t take a nosedive.

Pilot grade: B-

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