I didn’t expect much from Guys With Kids – it’s a low concept sitcom premise that reeks of the “broader comedy” NBC is looking for as they move away from the types of critically acclaimed, niche shows that have kept its carcass afloat in the 21st century. But not only was Guys With Kids completely devoid of humor, it was so stupid and indifferent to things like character and family it was borderline offensive – easily one of the worst things I’ve seen yet this season.
In terms of a concept, Guys With Kids sprung from a Jimmy Fallon-led conversation about DILF’s (I’m not kidding) and the many dads carrying around tykes in the Big Apple. So that’s what the show is about: three predictably “regular” guys in three predictably unique relationships with their children’s mothers, struggle to understand the basic concepts of reasoning, logic, and anything remotely related to the words “human intelligence.”
The three male characters all lack the ability to do any sort of thinking – the laziest and least creative form of comedy construction there is. Gary (Anthony Anderson) is a stay-at-home father of four who has never heard of a ‘babysitter’ and gets excited at the sight of a working TV and Wii. At this point in his career (which I still think peaked with his antagonist role on The Shield), Anderson is essentially reliving his role in the film My Baby’s Daddy – and like that film, he’s going through the motions without any bringing anything to the table either in his delivery, or physical appearance. He looks so bored, he can’t even make a physical gag about a Wii dancing game look funny.
When it comes to Gary and his wife, I found their approach to parenting quite off-putting, something I always feel with the “two parents who hate being parents, and only half-joke about it” archetype in modern comedies. Even worse, the show makes no attempt to try and show us anything about parenting, reducing their complaints to annoying bits of dialogue, rather than constructing a plot where we could see the family in action.
This applies to the other relationships on the show, and it leaves them all in a state of dissonance with each other, one increasingly worse than the next. Nick (Zach Creggar) and Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) fill the “young, professional” couple type, and their plot in the pilot revolves around Nick not wanting to wear a suit and go out in public with his gorgeous girlfriend to a silly ‘Titanic’ re enactment. What annoys me is their story doesn’t even revolve around their child – they simply pass him back and forth between each other in scenes without a mention, focusing instead on Nick’s impenetrable idiocy and how easily he’s forgiven for it by putting on a tuxedo in his apartment (mind you, never showing up to the event Emily wants him to go to).
But the worst of the bunch is Chris, the single guy whose ex-wife runs his life at every angle. He’s submissive to the point where he’s no longer a character and merely a wimping pile of makeup with glasses (seriously, way too much make up on his face in the pilot). Of course, the whole pilot is constructed around his friend’s manipulations to get him to stand up to his ex, an evil woman whose only line of defense is “He grew inside me.” This plot includes the episode’s biggest moment of applause: the guys take a picture of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who is on a date with Sheila, apparently still getting paid to show up randomly on TV shows 30 years later) pretending to dunk the baby, representing (somehow) Chris’s first victory in the War Against the Ex-Wife, which usually happens in front of the baby, passing it back and forth multiple times in the same scene like its a skin-covered hot potato.
It’s unacceptable the lack of thought put into every aspect of this heavily-promoted show, boiling everything down to “women are whiny bitches” and “men are too stupid to figure anything out.” On every level, Guys With Kids fails to meet even the most basic standards of mediocre studio sitcoms. There’s nothing to be said or laughed about here when it comes to families; there’s also nothing here suggesting an amusing comedy about relationships, and juggling the breathing, puking, shitting new additions to those families (outside of “how inconvenient are little children?”). There’s really nothing here at all, and with a better show on the network to watch about a young family (Up All Night), I don’t see this turd lasting long.
– was this script written in 1999? The ONLY three movie references in this film are Goodfellas, Cool Runnings, and Titanic. That’s it.
– don’t you love a laugh track that just won’t quit? They should just put bright text on the screen that says “LAUGH HERE, YOU STUPID FUCK.”
– notice the big ass Apple logo in between two character’s heads during an entire conversation (I believe it’s Nick and Emily), and the constant flashing of iPhones throughout. Way to be subtle.
– again: if your big emotional victory comes from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar picking up a baby, there’s something profoundly wrong with your show.
What did you think of Guys with Kids? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below!