NBC's new "Guys with Kids" (9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC; half star out of 4) is the sitcom equivalent of a loaded diaper. It stinks.
Anthony Anderson plays Gary, a stay-at-home husband to Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe) and father of four who has two buddies with whom to navigate the travails of fatherhood: Nick (Zach Cregger) is married to Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), while Chris (Jesse Bradford) is divorced from Sheila (Erinn Hayes).
That's not necessarily a bad premise for a show, but "Guys with Kids" feels more like one overly long "Saturday Night Live" skit then a real sitcom. That could be because former "SNL" actor and late-night host Jimmy Fallon helped create it. It doesn't seem like Fallon or his co-producers thought beyond the initial sight gag of three men with their back to the camera watching a game in a bar. Then when they turn around, they're all wearing their kids strapped on their chests via Baby Bjorns.
Plenty of writers—heck, non-writer fathers—could come up with a ton of character-based humor involving three dads and their infant kids. But the "Guys with Kids" crew seems to be clueless, opting for a hook that would have been funny in, I don't know, the 1950s: Men taking care of children is funny because it's so unexpected! Women working is funny because women shouldn't work!
The show's directors must know that much of the material is not funny, too. What else explains why the actors seem to be shouting their lines—especially the so-called jokes? (Maybe they're talking over the live audience—or the laugh track.)
I'm giving "Guys with Kids" the half star because, well, the babies are cute. But I'd rather babysit a dozen children between the ages of 2 and 10 than sit through more of this.
NBC is airing a sneak peek of the pilot at 9 p.m. Sept. 12 and 7 p.m. Sept. 14, then will show a new episode at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19 before moving "Guys with Kids" to its regular 7:30 p.m. Wednesday timeslot Sept. 26.
Tempestt Bledsoe is a Chicago native. Check out out gallery of former Chicagoans on TV.
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