How to Be a Gentleman: Is the New Sitcom Worth Watching?

How to Be a Gentleman TV seriesDespite having some decent numbers, $#*! My Dad Says and Rules of Engagement didn’t perform well enough to keep their Thursday night timeslot. One was cancelled while the other was renewed for syndication reasons and booted to Saturdays. Tonight CBS tries a new sitcom.

How to Be a Gentleman follows an unusual friendship between two very different men. Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) is an etiquette columnist while personal trainer Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon) is a reformed “bad boy” from Andrew’s past. Andrew’s editor, Jerry (Dave Foley), tells him to put a modern, sexy twist on his column, he hires Bert as a life coach in the hopes of learning to be less “gentle man” and more “real man.” Andrew’s mom, Diane (Nancy Lenehan), and his bossy sister, Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), support the plan, as would Janet’s husband, Mike (Rhys Darby), if he was allowed to have an opinion.

Is this sitcom worth your TV time? Here’s what the critics are saying about How to Be a Gentleman:

LA Times: “I’ve watched the pilot possibly too many times not to notice how the parts have been glued together and the jokes teed up, but the performances are good. Hornsby’s might be the least of them, but he’s surrounded himself with what strikes me as a sort of alt-TV supergroup. As on Entourage, Dillon pulls the focus toward himself; he’s a cartoon but recognizably human underneath, and funny in a whole-body sort of way. At the very least, this is the show that has kept Rhys Darby, who was manager Murray on Flight of the Conchords, on American television; as Andrew’s cowed but cheerful brother-in-law, he provides the random weirdness that keeps the show from becoming too schematic.”

Hollywood Reporter: “You can never tell if a completely unfunny and predictable ‘comedy’ will run for five or eight seasons on CBS, so who knows what will happen with the leaden How to Be A Gentleman. But know this – it’s painful to watch so many talented comedic actors, like Darby, Rajskub, and Dave Foley, who plays Andrew’s boss at the magazine, suffer with this material. (Dillon basically plays Johnny Drama from his Entourage days.)”

USA Today: “The larger question is where CBS got the idea that drinking in the morning at a strip club, ‘dead-arming’ people you haven’t seen in decades and being stymied by the word ‘whom’ are qualities that define a real man. It’s a witless, offensive message, not one you’d expect to run into after The Big Bang Theory. Here’s hoping the run-in doesn’t last long.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “The message seems to be that lunkheads are cool and people who can put a sentence together are dorks. Which might be funny… except that it’s so badly executed that it’s not. How to be a Gentleman might make you groan, but it won’t make you laugh.”

Boston Globe: “There’s a cluster of talent on the show, with Foley and Rhys Darby, who was unforgettable as Murray the agent on Flight of the Conchords. Whenever Darby is on screen, the show picks up. And Mary Lynn Rajskub, who was Chloe – a.k.a. Dammit Chloe – on 24, has moments as Andrew’s callous sister. But they’re all enslaved by a script that goes exactly where you expect it to go, and unimaginatively so. Also, Dillon is exhausting, playing another version of Drama. Only now he’s a weight trainer who is a major dumbbell.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “There may be something salvageable here – this kind of odd couple pairing worked great in, well, The Odd Couple – but the pilot is virtually humorless. There’s one small joke that lands, about why Dillon has a black circular tattoo on his upper arm, but otherwise, even the canned laugh track sounds underwhelmed. And throwing this poor, half-drowned little puppy onto Thursday nights against NBC’s Parks and Recreation and even ABC’s pathetic Charlie’s Angels is sad at best and sadistic at worst.”

What do you think? Will you give this new sitcom a try. If you’ve already seen it, will you watch another episode? Should it be given a chance at renewal or quickly cancelled?

Canceled and renewed TV show

13 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Steve says

    This is a great show with a wonderful amazing, talented cast. I hope people disregard these asinine reviews and discover for themselves what a great show it is. What a hilariously gifted cast. I LOVE RHYS DARBY in flight of the conchords, I was so happy to see that he would be in something that would be seen by more Americans. Dave Foley is hilarious and I love Dillon in his role, he has echoes of his brother in Something About Mary. this is a great cast and I hope America gives it a chance on Thursday nights on CBS.

    The tricky thing is that CBS is a very down the middle network and a lot of these guys are Alt Comedy guys. But I found the show delightful and fun and I can’t wait to see where they go with it next week.

    Critics also crucified Big Bang theory when it came out. And look who’s laughing now. Hopefully people will tune in and give this show a chance. It’s got so many great people to watch in it. Oh, and I loved Hornsby in Always Sunny. Hopefully they’ll let him bring those kind of fun stories to CBS. I can’t wait for Thurs on CBS!!!

  2. Craig says

    This is not a great new comedy. There may be a sitcom hidden in this show with Foley and Darby, but they are not on screen enough to offset the main plot line which effectively has “Johnny Drama” giving up on his acting career and buying a gym where he trains some pathetic guy he used to bully in school. This is like a D-list version of The Odd Couple, and is not an acceptable sitcom for a network station.

    • Steve says

      I couldn’t disagree more. I thought it was hilarious. There is another odd couple show on BTW, have you heard of 2 1/2 Men?

      • Craig says

        Now that you reminded me about 2 1/2 Men, I have another reason not to watch Gentleman. Gentleman isn’t close to being as funny as 2 1/2 Men.

    • Steve says

      i couldn’t disagree more. it’s a pilot. pilots are often times tedious because they have so many characters to set up. this show had like 5 great actors to set up: Rhys Darby, Dave Foley, Dillon, Hornsby, Lanahan…

      Critics ROASTED the BIG BANG Pilot and now it’s a hit… go figure.

  3. ThatBob says

    Despite the good supporting cast, Hornsby’s a cypher and the whole concept is trite and badly executed. On top of that, it couldn’t be a worse fit with Big Bang. They’d be better off slotting Terms of Engagement back in the slot (or, better yet, find something actually funny). This show’s first in line for the axe.

    • Steve says

      I agree Ross. i had a blast watching it. there’s a lot of great stuff here. i hope that CBS really gives it a shot and people will start to tune in… it’s a great cast with a lot of funny people. I can’t wait to see where they go with it next week.

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