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October 6, 2015

My Boys -- an early look

by Richard Keller, posted Nov 26th 2006 3:59PM

The My Boys cast

One of the things I dislike about television is when they try to compare a new show to an established classic. You know, when they begin a promotion with "If you liked Friends . . .", or something like that. When I hear that what immediately comes to mind is, "It will absolutely, totally not be like Friends."

So, when I heard promotions for the TBS original comedy My Boys (which premieres on November 28th at 10 pm) start with the line "If you like Sex in the City . . ." I was immediately wary. After watching a few episodes of the series I can honestly say that it is similar to Sex in the City only that the main character is a woman who is a writer. Oh, I'm not saying that the show isn't watchable, because it is, but it is definitely not in the Sex category. In fact, I'm not too sure what category it falls in, other than single-camera comedy.

Before I get too far ahead, let me tell you a bit about the show itself. PJ Franklin (played by Jordana Spiro) is a 20-something sports reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Her voice, looks and personality remind me a bit of Brett Butler (okay, a very young Brett Butler, minus the ravages of substance abuse). She's not your typical girl, though. If anything, she's a tomboy who would rather drink beer and play poker with her guy friends than go out on a date.

And, boy, does she have a lot of guy friends! There's Kenny (Michael Bunin) who is a sports-memorabilia store owner, Mike (Jamie Kaler) who works for the Chicago Cubs, Brendan (Reid Scott) who's a radio DJ, and Andy Franklin (Jim Gaffigan, probably the most recognizable star in the cast), who is PJ's married brother. Along the way she's introduced to Bobby (Kyle Howard, the second most recognizable star in the cast), a writer for a rival paper who initially shows interest in PJ. Unfortunately, PJ blows it with him and he eventually becomes one of the gang (shades of Jerry and Elaine in Seinfeld). The only woman friend PJ has is Stephanie (Kelle Stewart), a girlie-girl who provides advice on men and dating.

Here's my problem with the network comparing this to Sex in the City in their promotions. Where Sex was a fairly over-the-top representation of horny women in oh-so-chic New York City, My Boys is, as Jim Gaffigan mentioned in the press material, a show that's built out of reality. And, while that's okay, it makes the show a bit boring. Well, amusingly boring at the least. As I said, it's a watchable show, but not a laugh-out-loud comedy like other single-camera shows such as The Office. The cast is fairly strong, the plots are fine (although they dip a bit into Seinfeld territory) but the most I got from watching the few episodes that I was provided were a few smiles.

In addition, I do have a few issues with the show. First, Gaffigan is barely there, other than in the poker scenes. If there is one actor that works well with the dry humor of Boys, it's Gaffigan. If you've heard his stand-up routines he does a boatload of real-life stuff. Heck, I listened to a set where he did 30 minutes on food alone. So, other than playing a married man who is on an extremely short leash, I'm not sure why he doesn't have a meatier role.

The other issue I have is with PJ's voice-overs within each episode. I wouldn't mind them, except every time she starts her narrations with "Your friends are like a baseball team . . ." followed by a constant stream of baseball metaphors. Look, we know she's a baseball writer, but is she so obsessed with it that it permeates her thoughts as well? If I were Betsy Thomas, the creator of the show, I would drop the voice-overs or at least remove a good portion of the baseball comparisons.

So, should you tune in on Tuesday nights to watch My Boys? I don't really have an answer for you on that one. It's not a terrible show. Yet, the humor and situations are dry enough that it could make you sleepy, especially airing at 10 pm. I say give it a try and see if it is to your liking or not.

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Paul Chaney

I was really taken aback by the blatant sponsor promotion in not one, but both episodes. I'm a fan of the Calacanis mantra (It's ok to mention Jason's name still, isn't it? :->) of keeping editorial content pure of product promotion. In this case, the editorial content is the dialog and it shouldn't fall prey to the flim-flam artists on Madison Ave.

Of course, in reading a NY Time article I find that this form of promotion is known as "branded entertainment," and is making a come-back thanks to the fact people are smart enough to buy TiVo.

Match.com will be featured in all 13 episodes and the website will be featured in two, then play cameo roles in others, so says the article. Oh joy. Just what I watch television for, to have my intelligence insulted.

Oh, and you're right. This ain't no SATC! And the baseball metaphors really got under my scalp. I don't think I'll be watching this show. I've already got a date...my wife!

November 30 2006 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ummmmm - it's Sex AND the City... at least know what show it's trying to be compared to. Sheesh!

November 29 2006 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Naturally I meant Bobby. Spell check IS free, isn't it?

November 29 2006 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually liked the show. Enough to look for it here. I guess I really relate to PJ because I have mostly guy friends. Sometimes it's hard to get them to see you as a woman (short of lifting up your shirt!). I'm interested in seeing how it all plays out. Especially the relationship between PJ and Booby. I have so been there! I'll definately watch a few more episodes and give My Boys a chance.

November 29 2006 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone catch how in the first episode when PJ's girl friend talks about how she's getting so many dates using Match.com, and that she got 2 dates with doctors? and then, during the commercial break, you find out that tonite's episode is sponsored by Match.com!!! That was so corny and it made me feel sorry for the show's producers that they had to cave in to their corporate sponsors like that. I mean, when the girl friend said that, it wasn't even relevant to the storyline. just stupid.

November 29 2006 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I get so tired of this mentality when a new show does its promos on TV-- "From the producers of Friends or another hit show" comes (enter new show here). Why can't the new show have its own freestanding approach? Familiarity doesn't help when you list a mega successful show to promote a new show no one has heard of. Comparing My Boys to Sex and the City is useless. As if those fellows are going to copy the ladies' extravagant obsession with expensive clothes and shoes. Let My Boys run on its own strength and stop using another well known show in your promos to hawk it. It's not fair to both parties.

November 28 2006 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Oh, I'm not saying that the show isn't watchable, because it is, but it is definitely not in the Sex category."

Isn't this redundant?

November 27 2006 at 5:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just watched the 7-min promo...I may watch the premier, but the 7-minutes didn't do anything for me.

November 26 2006 at 9:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked her in The Huntress a few years ago. The promo's were driving me crazy until were I remembered her from.

November 26 2006 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can watch a 7 minute preview on MySpace.


November 26 2006 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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