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?