CBS (ended 2013)
Jeff is definetely the best! I think Adam and Jen are kind of the drawbacks of this show, but the same time I think the show would not have been as good. Jeff and Audrey are the best couple and Russel is as always, a very very good comedian.
If I had to pick one, I'd say Jeff. I love the fact that in most recent sitcoms, the guy says something, then the girl says something sassy back to put him in his place. Jeff manages to top it with a comeback to her comeback, and they usually show a lot of self-awareness, like how he doesn't care about art or he's bored by anything other than sports.
Having said that, I do like the interaction between Jeff and Audrey. They work very well together, and I like how evenly things usually work out. As I say, a lot of recent sitcoms paint the girl as the smart, clever one, patiently dealing with her loser husband/boyfriend, who nobody would believe would actually manage to score such a woman. (see also: Everybody Loves Raymond, Till Death). With Jeff and Audrey, he's just as likely to make a valid point about their relationship as she is, such as the episode where he compared her need to feel good about what she wears to him needing to feel good about his teams.
I also enjoy the direction they've taken Adam. Pretty but dumb, and I like how Oliver plays him - not duhduhdumb, just naive and unwitting. I just watched the first episode season 4 and literally laughed out loud at the coda, after he spent most of the episode stressing and vacillating about whether to post or dump the save-the-date cards, and then making the bold gesture of marching back into the post office and shoving them all into the box.
"What are those?"
"Our save-the-date cards. What's missing on these?"
"Yes. But, that's okay, we'll try again tomorrow. With.......?"
Possibly not even really his fault.
Jennifer? Okay and I like her, but unfortunately she's up against some characters that I really very much enjoy. If the others weren't so good, she'd be higher on my list.
Russell.... meh. I never liked David Spade. It doesn't matter who he's playing, I just see David Spade, as that's all he seems to be able to portray.
EDIT: Oh, I forgot about Timmy. Aside from the fact that I don't think a grown man should be called "Timmy", I have to say that I enjoy him, and the addition of him to the cast has actually made Russell more bearable/enjoyable, particularly as he provides some comebacks to Russell's shenanigans. Having just watched S04E01, I'm also happy for the actor that he's been made a regular and added to the titles. I also think they did a good job of incorporating him in there without the need to completely reshoot it. I think Tim's probably tied with around Adam and Audrey in my favorite character list.
|If I had to pick one|
I have a slight revision to my list. I think Jeff is still my favorite character, but I think Oliver is my favorite actor. I just watched the cheer-leader episode, and the way he played Adam was just great. I tend to think that Jeff isn't very far off what Patrick Warburton is like, and frankly given what I know about David Spade, Russell isn't much of a stretch either. But you can't play Adam and be like Adam, and Oliver plays it so well, in an understated kind of way, and you often kind of end up agreeing with him, or it at the very least it ends up sounding natural: yeah, why don't they sell popsicles?
Timmy was the breakout character on this show by a long shot. Russell is just Spade's standard type (i.e. himself) that we've seen elsewhere. Warburton too, is another stock performer, as Jeff (David Puddy with a white collar job) this time and I'm not taking anything away from the guy. It's just his standard deadpan cookie-cutter role. The Adam character became too Flanderized for my taste by the last three seasons.
Bianca Kajlich as Jen was too suppressed, mainly by having been saddled inexplicably with Adam. She had a moment of almost glimmering through when they did the episode where she and Jeff find themselves bonding over a shared interest in a muscle car. In real life, a woman like Jen would have kicked Adam out in two minutes unless he had some unknown asset we never saw on the show. Jen barely even hid her contempt for him a couple of times with his lack of skill with any "tools" and having to bring in a real handyman to put up a shelf. This couple were the giant sinkhole that sucked this show down to the ratings cellar. They just made no sense and had little viewer interest.
Although Audrey and Jeff didn't have a lot of chemistry either, I don't blame that on either of the performers. Megyn Price as Audrey nailed "the sitcom wife role" perfectly. It was like she channeled Audrey Meadows' Alice Kramden perfectly. When they make the All-Time Best TV-Wife List, Audrey needs to be right near the top of that one. The problem is, people tend to pay more attention in the media to roles like Gloria on Modern Family. This isn't about kudos for good acting though, it's strictly a personal favorite choice and that was Timmy. He was just the most entertaining all round.