Comedian Jay Mohr leaves his role in CBS' Ghost Whisperer to lead this sitcom about a recently divorced father of two young teenagers. This male version of Julia Louis Dreyfus' The New Adventures of Old Christine focuses immediately on how a newly divorced man balances dating and raising his tweens.
Mohr plays the titular Gary, and, in the first episode, Gary gets into an argument with his ex-wife Alison, played by Paula Marshall, who comes off as a bit of shrew and whose parenting philosophy seems to be a little too modern or new age for Gary. Their fight may appear as a minor one, trifles over scheduling and whatnot, but it escalates into broader issues that do beg the question. What are the rules in divorce?
One rule might involve when the right time is for parents to introduce new love interests and potential new spouses following the divorce. Gary doesn't really know. He doubts, however, that the right time is three months, which is probably why when Alison drops by unannounced with the kids, Gary does everything he can to avoid them seeing the half naked girl in his bed.
In another instance, Gary and Alison are debating their son Tom's shyness around girls. Alison wants them to encourage Tom to be more active on Second Life. Gary calls Second Life a dorky computer game. Alison describes it as an online society, a "safe place to meet other teens." Gary adds, "Or, congressmen!"
Alison says Tom shouldn't be afraid of girls. Gary says, "He should be afraid of girls, they pretend to like you then take all your stuff." Yet, here's where the writing gets confusing. Alison seems to want their son to interact more with girls but is the first to want to shut down her son actually talking to one in real life. Gary, who at once would be bitter at women, helps his son hide a girl in his bedroom.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of snappy and witty, one-liner jokes here to keep an audience laughing, even without the laugh track prompting us. This is the first traditional, multi-camera sitcom I've seen Mohr do since his time on The Jeff Foxworthy Show. This show may be a slight step down from that. Having seen Mohr's Emmy-nominated stint on NBC's Last Comic Standing and his run on Saturday Night Live, Mohr has the chops to be fierce and like a razor, but this is slightly watered down.
One question is the casting of Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Walter Krandall. In the pilot, that character was played by someone else, but the website says Ed Begley plays that role. Don't know why the change. Also, it may be me, but does anyone remember Mohr in Action, the precursor to Entourage? He was funny then as he is now!
Four Stars out of Five
Running Time: 30 mins.
Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS