Despite 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?
Image courtesy CBS.