Monday, October 31, 2016

Pilot: Man with a Plan

Man with a Plan (CBS)
Premiered October 24 at 8:30pm

CBS is one network that hasn’t really moved on to the next generation of sitcoms and still premieres new series with laugh tracks every season. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but usually they all fit a certain format which doesn’t tend to make them especially creative or exciting. Most notable about this series is that it marks Matt LeBlanc’s return to network television after the disastrous spinoff “Joey” immediately following what may be the most endearing show of the past few decades, “Friends.” During his time off, LeBlanc has been starring in and earning Emmy nominations for Showtime’s fantastic “Episodes,” which is for much more mature audiences, and it’s a disappointment in a sense to see return to a broadcast network comedy. That said, he has shared in interviews that it’s easier to spend time with his family with a less demanding schedule on this kind of show, and though it’s not sophisticated, he’s great at playing this kind of role. We’ve seen dads try to raise kids on sitcoms before, and the results are about as expected. What’s nice is that this relatively missable comedy manages to be pretty entertaining and even a little funny in its chronicling of LeBlanc’s Adam as he has to start stepping up and taking on what are traditionally perceived as maternal roles. He’s not apologetic about his lack of interest, and he’s already found effective ways to enforce compliance, like installing a rolling wi-fi password to motivate his kids to do chores and keep their hands out of their pants. This show may not be great, but it’s about as good as it was ever going to be.

How will it work as a series? Andi has done a sufficient job of motivating Adam to take charge and realize that he can contribute positively to raising their children despite forgetting them numerous times in the pantry. Now it’s going to be a struggle for Adam to stay optimistic and deal with every challenge that comes his way, typical tried-and-true sitcom stuff.
How long will it last? I think CBS would be very excited if LeBlanc could become a successful carrier of one of its shows, and while the premiere numbers were okay, I’m not sure it’s going to happen. Reviews were particularly poor (mine is on the high end), and so while this show could make it to a second season and beyond, I don’t think it’s too likely.

Pilot grade: B-

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