In my house growing up we’d sit as a family watching tv after dinner most evenings and we’d migrate towards this sort of 1/2 hour sitcom. If I really thought about it I could probably describe whole sections of my life by what we were watching – Friends, Frasier, Cheers, Mad About You, Will and Grace, Caroline in the City, Spin City, M*A*S*H, the list would go on and on. But I seem to have stopped watching them when I went to university, I gave up on Frasier as I found it increasingly irritating and still haven’t got round to watching the last seasons of Friends of Will and Grace.
So it was strange to sit and watch the pilot of something that is so obviously a descendant of all these shows, not least because Kelsey Grammar returns.
Sadly, I found myself disappointed. There wasn’t anything wrong with the show, it just didn’t appeal to me. The overly large characters and telegraphed jokes just didn’t work for me in the way they used to.
Grammar does a good job and the character is different enough to Frasier that it didn’t feel like cheating. He has a presence about him that works very well in the big ‘look at me’ moments from his character, but he manages to turn on the depth and emotion at the right times as well. I was less convinced by Patricia Heaton, as her character’s emotions were all over the place, but the chemistry between them should work. I liked the put-upon roving reporter and Fred Willard’s ageing sports reporter, but the other characters were cringe inducing. It is funny in it’s own way, there are funny lines and Grammar’s timing and delivery is unsurprisingly exceptional, but there were also bits that made me want to hide behind a magazine until it went away.
I won’t be watching or tracking this one, It’s the kind of thing that I might pause at while desperately channel hopping, but there wasn’t anything that made me want to watch every week. I honestly don’t know how it compares to other 1/2 hour comedies out there as I don’t watch any of them. I’m guessing there’s slightly more chances for 1/2 hours as there’s less competition and Grammar’s name will give a certain amount of protection so I suspect it’s pretty safe for a while.