I didn’t mean to do it, but really, when do I ever mean to do anything I do, so fair enough. I turned “Guys with Kids” directly against “The New Normal”. Bad idea, my friends, bad fucking idea.
“Guys with Kids” has a stellar cast including Anthony Anderson, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Tempestt Bledsoe, which mostly makes up for the fact that it’s writing, which does show select moments of funny, largely comes off like a fourteen-year-old took a stab at it. Perhaps it’s due to directorial issues, perhaps it’s the actors being told to read the script verbatim, but there is no flow, no fluid direction and the show suffers in a massive way as a result. Of the three aforementioned actors, only two were able to make something out of the words on those pages. Life needs a bit more mystery, so I’ll leave you to figure out which two pulled it off.
The plot is basic enough, the main character has recently gone through a divorce with an uptight WASP-y wife and now they are trying to co-parent while working their way through the crazy, mixed up world of dating. Did my overly fake game show smile come through on that last bit? Good.
While there is some funny to be had with this plot, the writing really needs to find some sense of a voice or there is very little hope for this show beyond Jimmy Fallon’s name being attached to it.
After finishing up that show and reviewing my notes, I jumped right into the two episodes of “The New Normal” that were calling my name, although I really wished they’d let me recover from the first outing for at least a moment…
This show is strong. The writing, as one would expect being a Ryan Murphy show, is utterly fantastic. Depth to the point of tears in some areas, and overflowing with laughter in every other nook and cranny. Every person on the screen hits every note called for whether it’s vulnerability or over-the-top physicality, and yes, this absolutely extends to the youngest on the show, Bebe Wood, whose Little Edie impression should make us all question why we believe Drew Barrymore to be a “good” actress.
This show is based around a gay couple, their surrogate, her daughter and well, the acceptance of “normal” being a slightly different familial arrangement than those that our country started out with..
There are certainly moments that shine through of this show taking a direct jab at “Modern Family”, and in all honesty, I prefer the talking heads on this show over MF’s. They flow well, the direction is brilliant and they have me cracking up on every occurrence. At the end of the hour worth of premieres, I found myself wanting to see more of where this family went than the Dunphy-Tucker-Pritchett’s over on ABC.
This show is stable. Unfortunately, a bit too stable to have been my follow-up to “Guys with Kids”, however, it is definitely a great pairing with “Go On”, and for the sake of that show, I am beyond happy with this set of premieres.
Maybe “Guys with Kids” will be put into perspective a bit when I get a chance to catch it’s sibling “Animal Practice” tonight, maybe I’m just hoping it will as I very much want to see Justin Kirk’s show do well and having a strong show to share that hour with is more important than it should be, but, whatever. I suppose I shall see!