This evening, NBC unveils their second new sitcom that revolves around fatherhood. The New Normal features a pair of guys who want to become fathers while Guys with Kids revolves around three traditional dads who are trying to survive fatherhood. Is the latter worth watching or should it be cancelled to make way for something better?
The sitcom stars Anthony Anderson, Jesse Bradford, Zach Cregger, Tempestt Bledsoe, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
The critics seem to be fairly unanimous in their opinion of Guys with Kids. Here’s a sampling:
TIME: “Nobody goes in intending to make a bad TV show. Not even Jimmy Fallon, a funny man, and the other producers of NBC’s Guys With Kids, which, let us get it out of the way, is a bad, bad TV show… Guys With Kids’ problem isn’t really in its heart but in its guts. Like so many bad sitcoms every year, it just doesn’t have the guts to go beyond the most obvious jokes in its premise — and the most obvious jokes in this one are that, three decades after Mr. Mom, it’s hi-larious when dads try to be ‘moms.’ It’s conceivable, I guess, that it could become as good as the show its producers say they had in mind. But it will have to man up.”
LA Times: “The problem with Guys With Kids is the same one voiced by the famous New Yorker cartoon in which one woman laments to another that though she thought she wanted a baby, it turns out she just wanted baby clothes. The show wants men in Baby Bjorns but that’s not the same thing as wanting fathers.”
Hollywood Reporter: “See, that’s the problem with Guys With Kids. Well, one of the problems. Fathers taking care of their kids is not unique. Their problems doing it are not original… Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Tempestt Bledsoe and Erinn Hayes get to wear the pants, but even that’s not particularly funny. Think about how strange that is — Mom’s working. Hi-larious! What’s really funny (in a sad, sad way) is that NBC is so desperate for anything that funny people like Fallon pitch, it can’t seem to say no to what is obviously a limited-potential series. Guys With Kids is a series that works on paper but not in the pilot. It’s a show that should never have been put on paper to begin with.”
Salon: “More damningly, Guys With Kids isn’t very funny, the primary joke being, again and again, Guys! With kids! How hilarious. They bring them to the bar! They bring them to the store! They make them fist-bump! Kids are such humorous props! The show is a multi-camera comedy that, like Whitney, announces it is taped in front of a live studio audience, lest the people watching from home think the laughter they are hearing throughout is all canned. It’s not — it was just elicited from a captive audience instructed to react to every lame joke.”
NY Daily News: “Guys With Kids plays like a sitcom sequel to one of the summer’s already-forgotten movies, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The TV show picks up the story of zany, wisecracking and often befuddled dads after the baby is born. It’s funnier than the movie, which isn’t saying a whole lot… Unless young-adult parents have an infinite appetite for watching cartoon versions of themselves on TV, don’t bet on this show being around by the time the cute babies head off to preschool.”
USA Today: “If only there was something else to discover here: one tiny new insight on fatherhood, perhaps, or one actually funny moment. Instead, it’s all tried and tired jokes about smelly diapers and kids running wild and guys trying, without any visible signs of success, to be good fathers and husbands. Comedy, of course, is made out of striving and often failing, but aren’t fathers growing weary of this depiction of themselves as inept bunglers?”
San Francisco Chronicle: “The only thing Guys With Kids has going for it is that parents may be able to identify with the concept, at least, of trying to find a balance between their own wants and needs and those of their kids. Notwithstanding the unfathomable reaction of the studio audience, the show certainly couldn’t survive on the basis of its humor, because there is none.”
Boston Herald: “Guys is one of those shows that behaves as if it has discovered something revolutionary: Gosh, it’s hard raising kids. They suck up your energy. You don’t get as much alone time. They want to eat, like, at least twice a day.”
Washington Post: “It’s precisely what the title says: just new iterations of the same spit-up and teething jokes. I still don’t understand how comedies about baby hassles count as quality TV time for people seeking a diversion from everyday life, but something about married men who have cute babies strapped to their chests continues to get network executives’ juices flowing.”
What do you think? Do you think that Guys with Kids is worth your time? Have you watched it? If so, will you watch again? Do you agree with the critics?