Twenty Good Years

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

0
Aired Unknown Oct 11, 2006 on NBC
6.8
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Pilot
AIRED:
Meet John and Jeffrey, two complete opposites who can only agree on one thing -- they only have twenty good years left to live. In spite of the differences between the two, they vow to live each day as if it were their last -- without looking back and without any regrets.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Awful. Simply awful.

    1.0
    Before I start - may I suggest you read the review on this board put forward by "skaizun". It is a painfully accurate opinion of this - one which I suspect will be shared by many, including myself.



    After watching this Pilot, I was actually quite annoyed to see NBC show further episodes. It is a dismally poor rip off of the "The Odd Couple"... only worse... much, much worse.



    If Tambor could only have portrayed his character to that played in Arrested Development - and Lithgoe moved as far away from 3rd Rock From The Sun - then, once the laughter track had been removed, we could have had a pretty good show.



    I can guarantee it will not make it over here to sunny ol' England.moreless
  • Good, but needs improvement

    6.1
    If "Twenty Good Years" is to stay on the air for about twenty weeks, it need to find something more than a chemistry. The laughs are there, but more needs to be done with the script. The first episode is good, but need improvements. A better witty scripts need be the answer. The chemistry between John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambour is good but need improvement. I'm glad to see Judith Light again, I hope she could back toi the show again. But with luck in the first episode and if the show doesn't improve, then it won't be there by thanksgiving.moreless
  • Show will get canned before we know it!

    3.8
    Two great actors, legendary John Litghow and great supporting character actor Jeffrey Tambow, great in the tv show Arrested Development, need a better script as this show really has no chemistry as well as really no laughter unless it could be reworked. Playing friends with nothing in common except they want to make their "last" twenty years special. This show will get canned asap! Before you know it.
  • Two excellent actors in one remarkably bad pilot.

    5.0
    You couldn't blame NBC for greenlighting "Twenty Good Years" based on a one sentence pitch: "Situation comedy, Odd Couple 2006, starring John Lithgow and Jeffery Tambor". Lithgow and Tambor are two of the most gifted comedic actors of our time, and who doesn't love The Odd Couple. Unfortunately, the writing, directing and producing of "Twenty Good Years" is decidedly ungifted, resulting in a pilot that would have been abysmal, if not for the mere presence of Lithgow and Tambor. The Odd Couple it is not.



    The pilot starts by jarring the viewer with a laugh track as unsubtle as any ever used. The opening raquetball court escapade was not funny and the harder the laugh track laughed, the more painful the scene was to watch.



    Through fits and starts, the show introduced the characters and their subplots. Most pilots are at least slightly awkward, having to set the stage, as it were, for an entire season to come. This pilot was extremely awkward and no matter how hard the laugh track insisted otherwise, contained few moments of genuine comedy.



    Given nothing more than the chemistry between them to play off of, Lithgow and Tambor did a decent job of setting a foundation of friendship and loyalty ala Felix and Oscar. I probably should rate the pilot lower than a 5.0, but the exchanges between the two greats gave me a little entertainment from my half hour invested and a little hope that with some decent material (hint, fire the writers), "Twenty Good Years" might have a good episode or two in its future.



    --------------------------



    Note to future directors: please give John Lithgow enough genuinely funny bits to keep him from chewing the scenery. Lithgow delivers every line as if it is written by a comedic genius and when it isn't, his delivery makes the bad writing sound all the worse.moreless
  • The laugh-track was the only thing amused by this dreck.

    1.0
    A pale imitation of "The Odd Couple", this show attempts to make us believe that a bon-vivant surgeon (John Lithgow) would not realize that he has been put into forced 'semi-retirement' (we're not told what the "semi" refers to), while his best friend (Jeffrey Tambor), a dreary judge, is so wimpy that he goes with the flow in such a way that any character traits he might have are drowned-out by the nearest person or pebble.



    I knew in watching the promos for this show that it was going to be be bad, but, I always give shows a chance, especially comedies. In hindsight, I should have just let it go by the wayside!



    During the openning scene, where the two men are playing racquetball, the laugh track was so poorly timed and invasive, that I thought (and half-hoped!) that the camera would pan back, so that we'd discover we were actually watching the rehearsal of a sitcom - - vis-a-vis a show-within-a-show, much akin to fellow series premieres "Studio 60" or "30 Rock" - - and then have one of the characters stop and admonish the director for overdoing the laugh-track.



    No such luck. The laugh-track kept on going and going, much like a kid playing with his new drum set, beating it incessantly. Unfortunately, there are no adults around to make this "kid" or the relentless laugh-track stop.



    How bad is the humor?



    1) Lithgow's character tells Tambor's character that he wants them to jump into the ocean with the "Polar Bear Club" (the group that jumps into winter-cold water for some bizarre reason!). When Tambor expresses his dismay at the very thought, John drops his overcoat and surprise-surprise (I'm being *very* sardonic, here!) we have nearly-full-frontal nudity, except for a swimming brief. Wow! That was ***real*** funny . . . and ***totally*** unexpected! (yes, *that* was sarcasm!)



    2) In another (the same?) scene, John tells Jeff how much in common they have, even though they've lived two blocks apart all their lives, when Jeff says something like, "Except you speak with a British accent!" Now, having admired most of John Lithgow's past works, I've found him to be a fine elocutionist, but never did I even *think* of him as being British. I know that some people confuse Lithgow with "Monty Python" alumnus, John Cleese, both for their similar stature and comedic skills, but, if that was supposed to be the crux of a let-the-audience-in-on-an-erstwhile-inside-joke, then it was totally unrealistic and pointless.



    I could go on with the inanities that were supposed to pass as humor (in which case, they should be arrested for "Attempted Humor in the First Degree"! That old chestnut was better than the entire show! Seriously!), but all is not totally lost! Yes, there was actually a *single* moment in which I had a mild, but, nevertheless, real chuckle, for which, quite frankly, I'm ashamed of myself for not having seen coming: About two-thirds into the premiere episode, Tambor's character tells his controlling, gold-digging girlfriend of three years, Judith Light (who deserves much better than this!), that he's breaking up with her. Lithgow grabs the shoulders of the closest party guests, as if he were falling backward from the shock of the announcement, and, instead of saying, "I can't believe it!", says, "This is so *riveting*!" Again, I admit that I chuckled. Or, maybe it was more of a hiccup. I'm not sure, now! Regardless, it's the only reason I gave this show a "one" rating instead of an absolute zero (n.b., I really wanted to give it a "0.5", but, apparently, we can only give ratings of either zero or 1 and up; no decimals between zero and one; don't ask me why!).



    If they had played it more seriously (say, by 85%, with Lithgow playing it less like his character in "Third Rock from the Sun", and Tambor playing it like a man with a spine), then it's entirely plausible that it could have been reminiscient of "Golden Girls". Unfortunately, that's not going to happen, here.



    "Twenty Good Years"??? I give it "Twenty Bad Days"!

    (and, if you expected *that* crack, then that's far better than anything you'll get out of this show!)moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Nurse: Gentlemen you might want to take a look through the window.
      John: Maybe later. I need a drink.
      Jeffrey: The baby.

    • John: I wish you were a woman.
      Jeffrey: Pardon?
      John: Think about it. You're my only successful marriage.
      Jeffrey: Why can't you be the woman?

    • Stella: I think my water just broke.
      Jeffrey: Oh okay uh. Could we put it back?

    • John: Johnny likes the ladies.

    • Jeffrey: You are such an arrogant snob. You think you're so superior.
      John: What about you? You act like some log cabin man of the people but you grew up a block away from me.
      Jeffrey: Right and yet you have a British accent.

    • Jeffrey: Why do you think Stella went to a sperm bank? She looked at daddy's track record and said marriage no thanks.
      John: At least I have a track record. You tiptoe through life like it's a field of cowpies.
      Jeffrey: Yes and I've avoided all the pies.
      John: I hope they write that on your tombstone.

    • John: Take a lesson from your son. He's 19 years old and he has women licking his pants. Jeffrey, we are getting these pants.

    • Jeffrey: I invested three years in [Gina]. If only she hadn't rushed me. And I'm gonna call her.
      John: And then what? Apologize? Get married? For God's sake the woman hums during sex.
      Jeffrey: I regret ever telling you that.

    • Stella: You had me.
      John: Sweetie, baby, and the day you were born was the happiest day of my life.
      Stella: Oh dad.
      John: But that was just one day and it was a long time ago.

    • Stella: Dad, you have healed hundreds of people.
      John: Hundreds? Thousands. No man could have done more.

    • John: Line up ladies. The doctor is in.
      Stella: Dad, where have you been? Are you drunk?
      John: Hello sweetie. You look furious and round. Promise me you'll name him John.
      Stella: What if it's a girl?
      John: It'll be a boy. You won't let me down.

    • Jeffrey: People have been asking me who the father is and I don't know what to say.
      Stella: Tell them the truth. I want a kid. I got tired of looking for Mr. Right so I went to a sperm bank.
      Jeffrey: Okay but in the awkward silence that follows--

    • Hugh: Dad. Dad. I'm in a full page ad. Page 74. I'm so psyched.
      Jeffrey: Oh I am psyched for you. I mean my son is a male model. But I really wish you'd go back to college. Oh my God. Are those young women licking you?
      Hugh: The concept is my jeans are driving them crazy.
      Jeffrey: I don't even see your jeans.

    • Stella: I'm sorry my dad's late. We're not sure where he is. But it's probably just his way of reminding everyone he's more important than you are. Guests laugh That's actually not a joke.

    • Marty: You should get out there and play [golf] since you have time.
      John: Why would I have time? This is a retirement gift?
      Marty: Come on John. Don't play dumb. You're 60.
      John: So.
      Marty: So you go to half time for two years and then you retire. Don't act surprised. I sent you memo after memo.
      John: And I made them into airplane after airplane. This is absurd. I'm not some insurance salesman you push out the door. I'm Dr. John Mason. I'm at the height of my powers. What kind of lame ass birthday party is this?

    • Group: Happy Birthday!
      John: Oh my goodness. I did not expect this. Who brought plates? Let's put plates on the credenza.

    • Jeffrey: Is there anything special you'd like me to wear?
      Gina: Are you mocking me?
      Jeffrey: No no no.
      Gina: Your blue blazer.

    • Gina: I have tried not to pressure you.
      Jeffrey: Really when?

    • John: Annette, time?
      Annette: Five hours. Twelve minutes.
      John: Hmmm. I'm slowing down. Of course some things are better done slower.
      Annette: Sorry Dr. Mason. I don't do married men.
      John: What would you say if I told you wife number three left me a month ago, Thursday?
      Annette: I'll pass. You're already paying enough alimony to finance a small country.
      John: Oh yes, The Republic of Women I Mistakenly Married.

    • (Jeffrey gets hit in the groin with a racquetball.)
      John: Not bad huh? And such a tiny target.

    • The two men are playing racquetball.
      Jeffrey: Ha, hit the floor.
      John: No.
      Jeffrey: I heard it.
      John: That was your jock strap.

    • Jeffrey: She struck me!
      John: We're living life on the edge now, Jeffrey. Women will often strike us.

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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