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October 9, 2015

'$#*! My Dad Says' Premiere Review: Don't Do That to the Shat

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 23rd 2010 12:30PM
You know what's funny about William Shatner?

William Shatner being William Shatner.

The Shat uttering contrived sitcom lines, which is what happens on '$#*! My Dad Says' (8:30PM ET Thursday, CBS), doesn't make him funny.

Shatner tries hard to fit himself within the narrow confines of this brittle sitcom, but the entire enterprise ends up working against the enjoyably goofy, spontaneous aspects of his personality.

The fact is, the Shat doesn't thrive in the setup-joke rhythm common to traditional sitcoms. He has a Weird. Rhythm. All his. Own.

But that isn't the only problem bedeviling this sitcom. The idea behind it -- that a popular Twitter feed could be the foundation for a good sitcom -- is fatally flawed.

The Twitter feed @ShitMyDadSays was popular because it offered a bite-size nugget of Cranky Old Guy wisdom once or twice a day. It was a source of mild amusement on an occasional basis. A whole show's worth of that irritable voice -- neutered and tamed by sitcom conventions -- ends up being tiresome.

It would take a particularly skilled, subtle and winning comic actor to make that cranky guy amusing. Shatner's got many things going for him -- mainly that hambone presence and game enthusiasm -- but he's not the right actor for this kind of sardonic role.

The Twitter feed worked as an organic, viral online presence, but everything about the sitcom feels inorganic and forced. The attempt to shoehorn the Shat into the strained story of a father and an adult son, Henry, getting to know each other for the first time seems false. And when there are glimmers that it might work, Shatner's character, Ed, is visited by his grating other son, Vince, and his even more grating wife, Bonnie. They're awful.

Let's face it, the Shat is already something of a cartoon character (and a beloved one at that). Putting him in a cartoonish father-son sitcom is not a good use of his skills.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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I've already seen this show, and it was called "Titus". It was hilarious.

September 24 2010 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

we watched and it didnt seem so bad. mostly because shatner was hysterical! may give it one or two more tries. i also liked the "depth" he gave his character, he didnt just seem to play the guy as a one note wonder... he had layers. :)

September 24 2010 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I disagree with you.
I fully expected to be bored out of my mind watching Shatner try to do a sitcom. I was surprised to find the lines and the delivery of said lines was done with perfect timing , and they were funny.

But then, I've always enjoyed shows trashed by the critics, and have learned to avoid those that the critics rave over.

September 23 2010 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show will directly compete with '30 Rock.' Initial curiosity may be the name of the game tonight. But going forward, the choice will be obvious. I say this as someone who isn't in love with '30 Rock.' I enjoy it very much but it's not my favorite.

September 23 2010 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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