NBC’s Guys With Kids: Swing And A Miss

I tried to like it, I really did. I stayed up late. I made my wife miss our nightly Young & The Restless tradition. I even taped it so I could watch it again just in case the kids woke up in between.

Unfortunately for me, NBC’s new show, “Guys With Kids”, was completely and utterly disappointing. I have to admit that I had a preconceived notion about what this show was going to be. My worry was that the Dads in show were going to continue the tradition of portraying fathers as bumbling doofuses who can’t do anything right.

THE ASSESSMENT

As it turns out, I was only half accurate in my premature assessment. I really wanted to laugh at this show and had even convinced myself that I could overlook a little bit of the “dumb dad” stigma in exchange for the serious amount of funny I figured Executive Producer Jimmy Fallon was going to bring to the table.

The only problem with that: It wasn’t funny! Not even a little bit.

I waited and waited for the big time jokes but all I got were recycled clichés and mediocre moments of funny, which were immediately ruined by the over the top laugh track. Seriously, I don’t like laugh tracks in general but this one was completely ridiculous, chiming in at awkward moments with uproarious laughter.

The other problem I had is that my earlier worry about the Dad’s being portrayed as imbeciles turned out to be completely true. The show opens with the three Dads hanging out in a bar with their babies strapped to the chests…This is not what Dads do and in fact, I’d be surprised if this has ever happened outside of the taping of this show.

    THE CHARACTERS

Chris (Jesse Bradford) – Chris is the divorced Dad, who seems normal enough until you find out that he is completely whipped by his ex-wife and mother of their child. He states that he loses every argument about the child to his ex because she ends them all with the line, “He Grew Inside Me”, as she rubs her belly. Not only is this unfunny and clichés but it once again paints the Dad in a weak light.

Gary (Anthony Anderson) – I thought for sure the Stay at Home Dad offered the show a chance at some great Dad moments, but they were lost in the fact that all he does is complain about how awful and time consuming it is to have 4 boys. To be fair in this assessment, his wife, played by Tempestt Bledsoe, seems to have the same attitude towards the children.

Nick (Zach Cregger) – I really have no idea what this character is all about and that is part of the problem. All I could gather is that he’s kind of dumb and will most likely be the “crazy do whatever you want with no regard for wives or kids” guy. Third Strike in the “Guys” Department.

The Kids – Almost non-existent. That’s how I would describe the role of the children in this show. This show could have simply been called, Guys, and it would have been able to keep the same premise. If the show continues, I hope there is a little more interaction between the fathers and the children.

The Wives – As mentioned earlier, Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa Huxtable) plays a mother of 4 kids and has some funny moments. Jamie-Lynn Sigler plays Nick’s wife and didn’t really play a major factor in the episode but there is room for funny between her and clueless Nick. Finally we have Erinn Hayes, who plays Chris’ ex-wife. I don’t know if it’s the writing, the acting or the fact that she is humiliating Bradford’s character the whole episode, but she is my least favourite character by far.

Finally, I will second the motion put forward by one of my Dad Blogging buddies in The Rock Father, when he described the random appearance of NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, saying “his appearance would’ve been far more relevant if it was 1980 and AIRPLANE! had just come out”. I agree sir, and I’ll add that having him fake “Dunking The Baby” was equally as tired.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

I just read this whole thing back before signing off and while it may seem unreasonably harsh, I really did have high hopes for Guys With Kids and was left completely baffled and disappointed with how unsatisfying it was. I also understand the people who say, “Calm down Dad and learn how to take a joke”, I really do, but that would imply the jokes actually making me laugh, which they did not. When you add that to the fact that the Dads are also portrayed in the same bumbling way we always are, it raises my Dad-O-Meter to a high level of alert.

I really like Jimmy Fallon and think he is a comedic genius, which is the main reason why I was so upset with the finished product. It just missed the mark on too many levels for me, so I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board with this one. On second thought, let’s just sweep it under the mat instead and pretend it never happened… Sorry Jimmy, still friends?

Cheers!

**Photo is from Blogo Wogo**

12 replies
  1. Laura | Mommy Miracles
    Laura | Mommy Miracles says:

    Like you, I was expecting big things from this show. And like you, I was disappointed. The “live studio audience” (?!?) aka laugh-track made it hard for me to find my own enjoyment from the show. Seriously, I think it would have been funnier without that manufactured laughter.

    I’ll give this show some props: there were some mildly funny moments. Like the bathroom episode where Gary yells “This is all we have!”. And I really liked when Nick learns his wife just wants to get out and do adult things. As a stay-at-home-Mom, that is a lesson I wish my husband would learn sometimes!

    I didn’t like the show much, but am willing to give it one or two more gos before I really decide whether I want to watch it this season.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Thanks Laura! I totally agree with everything you said and I think the laugh track made those funny moments you mentioned less funny for me. Like you, I will watch the next episode to see where the character development leads but I am not optimistic that we’ll get anything different.

      Reply
  2. Freda Mans
    Freda Mans says:

    Yeah, slightly harsh but you’re entitled to your opinion.

    Hate me now, ’cause I thought it was ok. Yeah, just ok. I think it’s about as good as Anger Management, Charlie Sheen’s newest disaster, and I still tune it to that crap. Guess I’ll tune into crappola episode 2 of Guys with Kids too….

    Looking back, I said it was ok and then proceeded to call it crap. Well, isn’t that what 9/10’s of tv is nowadays anyway?? If it isn’t realistic crap, sports crap, then its sitcom crap. Just sayin’… the books never looked so good.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Haha, thanks Freda! I’ll never hate on you either, just a difference of opinions is all. I haven’t seen the Charlie Sheen show but I hear it is basically a carbon copy of the show he left. I probably would have given the “ok” description as well if it hadn’t been for the laugh track they included. We do agree on one thing though, that books are looking better every day!

      Reply
  3. Evan
    Evan says:

    I certainly didn’t love the show. Honestly some of the writing really started to bother me. Like how we needed to have Gary remind us that he had four kids, and that it was time consuming over and over. I don’t know if that was part of a joke that I just wasn’t in on, or if they really thought viewers might forget which character was the one with four kids. Then there was the whole conversation at the bar right at the start telling us how Chris has no power/say in the relationship with his ex-wife and their kid, only to then cut to his apartment to give a visual representation of everything they had just talked about. Like…see? Get it now?

    I’m happy to admit that I’m overly critical of shows, but the truth is, I don’t get to watch much TV these days so I need things to start a little stong.

    I guess the two things to think about is that it was just the pilot. There is going to be a settling period, things tend to change at least a little based on feedback from people. As well, when it comes to Mr. Fallon, creator means he helped come up with the premise, the EP credit is almost always based on money. It’s going to be up to other people to really make this funny or enjoyable.

    I totally agree, they missed the mark on a lot of levels. Will I see episode 2? Maybe…if I have time.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Thanks for the comments Evan. It seems like we were on the same page about the overall product an I also agree that it was just the pilot. Like you, I have a busy life and for the most part, a pilot is all you are going to get with me as well. Thanks for the tip about the EP, I am kind of slow when it comes to the roles behind the scenes but I see there are other writers credited on IMDB. Cheers!

      Reply
  4. Trey Burley
    Trey Burley says:

    Ditto. Not even a laugh. Up All Night was the same way for us. I can’t believe that garbage got renewed. We won’t be there for #2. The life of a SAHD can be funny, but that aspect of their life should be a part of it, not the focus.

    Reply
  5. Neil
    Neil says:

    Yeah, this one screamed “stinker” for us right out of the gate. Hollywood has no concept of what being a Dad is all about, so this show doesn’t resonate with anyone who has kids.

    Do they not make babies in Hollywood? Why are they all so hopelessly out of touch?

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I read your post before the show came out and agreed with your thoughts at the time. I didn’t have as much optimism that they would be able to build on the preconceived notion I had built and they actually went a little backwards. Too bad.

      Reply
  6. jetts31
    jetts31 says:

    I didn’t watch. I thought it looked stupid from the commercials. I had figured ridiculous stereotypes would be involved and pushed in our faces to try and get laughs.
    I’m one of those who says, “Relax Dads. Its just a joke” but the show didn’t even look funny. No thanks.
    Maybe it will get cancelled soon and we won’t have to worry about it much longer? We can hope.

    Reply

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