Guys With Kids Series Premiere Review: Damn Kids Ruined These Guys' Lives!

By Tim Surette

Sep 13, 2012

Guys With Kids S01E01: "Pilot"

After Jimmy Fallon proved himself worthy of staying in a late-night chair for more than a few hours, NBC decided it owed him one and greenlighted his production company's first sitcom, Guys With Kids. But if tonight's pilot is any indication, it's going to take a lot of Tim Tebowie musical numbers to make up for this effortless multi-camera mess.

Look, we all knew that Guys With Kids would be terrible based on its premise alone, the gist of which is right there in the title. But it's the complete lack of warmness that makes Guys With Kids more of a "Scared Straight" PSA for males to practice abstinence rather than spill their seed into their wives, girlfriends, or hookers and *GOD FORBID* enter the phase of life that we're biologically designed for, parenthood.

Here's the plot: Three male friends have kids. I don't know their names because the show never baited me to try to learn them. (I do know that one of the kids' names is Ernie, though, because it was shouted over and over.) One of the guys, played by the very funny Anthony Anderson, can't say three words before reminding you that his four kids have destroyed his social life and that he does nothing but sit around while they terrorize him. Another guy is the happy-go-lucky one (or maybe he's always drunk) who lives with his wife with their infant and provides the regular "married man" perspective. The last guy is a recently divorced single dad with a soaked-blanket she-shrew for an ex (played by the very very funny Erinn Hayes of Childrens Hospital). Set-up accomplished!

Aside from the push-button laugh track "live studio audience," forced jokes that exist just for forced jokes' sake, Kareem Abdul Jabbar's appearance as a baby-dunking prop, and too many other things to mention, there was one major problem with the Guys With Kids pilot: There was never a feeling that the guys LIKE having kids (unless they mentioned it while I was jamming knives into my ears). This show is heartless; the dads talk about their children like they're open herpes sores that won't go away and interfere with their chances to get laid. Guys With Kids is going to be an awful comedy no matter what, but it can at least be an awful comedy with a positive message about parenting. Instead, it might just be the message we all need to solve our overpopulation problem. A few episodes of this and not only will you not want kids of your own, you might be tempted to napalm your local preschool or put razor blades and ricin in Lunchables.

The humor is pretty typical multi-camera fare angled toward NBC's "broad comedy" initiative. Examples of jokes: The guys wear front-loading baby slings, the guys play a dancing game on Wii, the guys wash a baby in the kitchen sink, the guys yell at their kids off-screen because the kids are putting shoe horns in their butts. Other jokes are reminders of the guys' old frat-boy partying days and how they don't do that anymore. Why? Because they have kids, dummy!

The future of Guys With Kids doesn't look good, either. It's sandwiched between the goofy single-camera comedy Animal Practice and Law & Order: SVU because NBC didn't have anywhere else to place it. You'd be better off watching Arrow or Suburgatory in the same timeslot, or doing something else useful with your time, like having sex. But for God's sake please use birth control.


– One thing that did seem to work was the married relationship between Anthony Anderson's character and Tempestt Bledsoe's character. It at least felt like pretty typical safe sitcom territory, and the fact that they're African-American but could have been any color was the most respectful thing the show did.

– It's a shame that Erinn Hayes (huge crushhhhh!) and Anthony Anderson are having their talents wasted here. Hope they get some fat paychecks and move on to something else soon.

– Kind of related: Am I the only one who thinks Jimmy Fallon is the opposite of funny?

What did YOU think of the pilot?

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  • suzieqster Oct 04, 2012

    This really is a terrible show, and I hate that for Jimmy Fallon. None of the three guys was at all funny, interesting or even likeable. Dud Dud Dud!!!!!!!!

  • RonShapley Sep 27, 2012

    At long last NBC.. Have you NO humanity ???

  • melissan Sep 19, 2012

    I agree that Jimmy Fallon is generally not funny, but his personality comes off as sweet and his impressions are amazing, so I do watch his talk show - I just skip over the opening monologue and some of the sketches. (The Thank You notes bit is pretty good, though.) He also seems like a very nice person so I wanted to support this effort, but "Guys with Kids" was SO awful that I did not finish watching it. Could he really think it was good?? That is what I always think about these shows - do the producers, and actors even, think what they are doing is working?? I watched the pilot of "Rules of Engagement" right after (it is now on Netflix) because I catch it now and again (love Patrick Warburton - The Tick, anyone?) but had not seen the first season. What a smoothly acted and funny show by comparison, even with the use of stereotype. Is it the live audience that makes shows uncomfortable to watch? "Whitney" is another show I can not believe anyone finds interesting or funny. Rant rant rant...

  • JeffBurdick1 Sep 15, 2012

    Word is they are already retooling "Guys with Kids" and will relaunch as "Goys on the Skids" - a Golden Girls/Bosom Buddies knock-off about some bankrupt old televangelists passing as Hasidic women to live in subsidized Miami Beach housing. For the rest of my 10 predictions for the fall season, check out the full blog at

  • CardMagnet Sep 14, 2012

    The over use of the laugh track (or laugh sign to the live audience) did not succeed into tricking me this show was funny. This show should have been cancelled before it premiered.

  • jaden84 Sep 14, 2012

    Ok first episode. I think Anthony Andersons' character will carry the show in the long run. If the producers consistently keep his character the same, it can survive a season.

  • Ankh49 Sep 14, 2012

    I am so very tempted to put this is my deadpool (especially after this review) but then I remember Whitney.....

  • Writerpatrick Sep 14, 2012

    Maybe they could try showing a man who is actually competent with children for a change.

  • SourceEnergy Sep 14, 2012

    Dear Jimmy Fallon: C'mon, Bud. You're awesome, but his show is a huge DUD. Like others have said, this concept is okay for a short segment on SNL. But totally unbelievable as a half hour sitcom. If there is still time to save this train-wreck, get rid of two of the Dads, and just focus on 1 Guy with a kid - trying to make life work with his buddies and his Ex - and perhaps a mother-in-law & his own father who buuuuugs. (See, we are laughing already.)


  • Shreela Sep 14, 2012

    I've never written comedy, but probably could have come up with something as non-funny as this show. I won't be watching any more of it.

    Am I in the minority about NOT caring how many cameras it takes to make a show? has mentioned it many times of late.

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