If there is one sitcom premise that has grown tiresome for me in the past few years, it’s the relationship comedy. We have seen many couples comedies come and go as networks try hard to find the right combinations of men and women to come off as believable couples. Personally, I’m surprised to see the Christina Applegate/Wil Arnett show, Up All Night, survive into a second season, but NBC seems desperate for this kind of a show.
I think they have found a bona fide hit in Guys With Kids. Now, I couldn’t have been less enthusiastic when I read the premise of this show about three guys who are friends and who are each taking a lead role in raising their new babies. There’s Nick, the stay-at-home dad. There’s Chris, the divorced dad. And there’s Gary, the overwhelmed dad. Sounds boring and predictable, doesn’t it? Well, the good news is that it’s not!
These guys are funny. They aren’t stupid dads who get everything wrong, and they don’t hate their wives (or ex-wife, in Chris’ case). They enjoy being dads, but that doesn’t mean the job is without challenges. Sure, they get into the usual sitcom trouble, but—at least in the pilot—they did it with a refreshing brand of humour. I definitely want to watch this show every week.
The actors who play the dads are fairly generic, although Anthony Anderson is a definite standout as the overwhelmed dad who feels clearly outnumbered by his kids. He is hilarious! His two friends, played by Jesse Bradford and Zach Cregger, need a little more character development before they can hold their own in the cast. On the other hand, all three of their female counterparts are strong characters, and they are all well-known in the world of television. Anderson’s equally over-burdened wife is played by Tempest Bledsoe, all grown up from her years as Vanessa Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Bradford’s ex-wife is played by Jamie Lyn Sigler, whom fans of The Sopranos will remember as Tony’s bratty daughter, Meadow. And Nick’s wife is played by Sara Rue, best known from the sitcom Less Than Perfect. All three couples are believable and compatible, and I think this could become a really fun ensemble show.
I think Guys With Kids has a strong future, and just as it helped Up All Night that it’s produced by Lorne Michaels (a creative force whom NBC wants to keep happy), Guys With Kids is produced by Jimmy Fallon (another creative force whom NBC wants to keep happy). Translated, that means it’s highly unlikely this show will disappear from the schedule after a few weeks, even if the ratings aren’t strong right out of the gate.
TV Gord’s Verdict: A hit, and my personal favourite!