Friday, September 19, 2008

CBS Fall Pilot Review: Gary Unmarried - Premieres September 24; Our 2008 Emmy Awards Picks

Gary Unmarried

Gary Unmarried - Wednesdays 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 8:30PM ET/PT

Gary Unmarried stars Jay Mohr and Paula Marshall in a comedy about Gary Barnes, a recently single painting contractor, and his controlling ex-wife, Allison, who face post-divorce mayhem after 15 years of marriage as they each embark on new relationships. He's the fun parent and she's the strict one. Together, they share custody of their two children - Louise, a politically correct and environmentally conscious 11-year-old, and Tom, their socially awkward 14-year-old son who is nervous around girls.

Charming and acerbic, Gary hasn't dated since the split, but finally connects with Vanessa, a single mother whose condo he was hired to paint. He dreads telling Allison about Vanessa because it doesn't adhere to her belief in their marriage counselor's book, "Rules for the Perfect Divorce." However, when Allison tells him that she's engaged to their shrink, all bets are off and Gary decides it's time to move forward. Now, in pursuit of post-marriage happiness, Gary must juggle his eclectic world of an ex-wife, their two kids, their shrink and his gorgeous new girlfriend.

Cast Details:

* Jay Mohr as Gary Brooks
* Paula Marshall as Allison Brooks
* Jaime King as Vanessa Flood
* Ryan Malgarini as Tom Brooks
* Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Walter Crandall
* Al Madrigal as Dennis Lopez
* Kathryn Newton as Louise Brooks

The multi-talented Jay Mohr's career has spanned over a decade. He first received audience notice with his dead-on impressions of Christopher Walken, Dick Vitale and Sean Penn on "Saturday Night Live." Soon after that, he landed his breakthrough film role as a rival sports agent in the blockbuster hit "Jerry Maguire," and followed that up in a touching good-guy turn in "Picture Perfect." Other film credits include "Playing By Heart," "Suicide Kings," "Seeing Other People," "Even Money," "The Groomsmen," "Pay it Forward," "Street Kings" and "Go," as well as comedic leads in "King's Ransom" and "Are We There Yet?" On television, Mohr created, executive produced and hosted "Last Comic Standing," now in its sixth season. Other credits include "Action" and his most recent role as Professor Rick Payne on the CBS series "Ghost Whisperer."

A native of Rockville, Maryland, Paula Marshall's big break came when she landed a guest-starring role on "Seinfeld." Marshall is an extremely busy actress with a recurring role on the current television series "Californication." Her other television credits include co-starring roles in the CBS comedy "Out of Practice," "Snoops," "Cupid," "Spin City," "Nip/Tuck" and "Veronica Mars." Paula starred in the feature films "Cheaper by the Dozen," "That Old Feeling," "A Family Thing" and "The New Age," among others.

Jaime King broke into television when she was selected to host MTV's "House of Style." Following a guest-star appearance on "The O.C.," King landed a role on "Kitchen Confidential" and was later cast in a recurring role on the CBS comedy, "The Class." King's feature film roles include "Pearl Harbor," "Blow," "Slackers," "Two for the Money," "White Chicks," "Sin City," "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," as well as the independent features "Pretty Persuasion," "The Tripper," "They Wait," "A Fork in the Road" and "The Pardon." She will be seen next on the big screen in the upcoming films "The Spirit," "My Bloody Valentine" and "Fanboys."

Ryan Malgarini caught the acting bug observing his grandmother's involvement in show biz. Tagging along one day to be an extra in one of her commercials, he was pulled out of the crowd by the director and wound up featured in the ad. Other commercials followed, including spots for McDonald's and Washington Mutual Savings Bank. Malgarini made his feature film debut in "The United States of Leland" starring opposite Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey. Shortly after, other offers kept rolling in and he got to work with another Oscar recipient, Tom Hanks, in "The Polar Express." Other film credits include "Freaky Friday" and "How to Eat Fried Worms."

Ed Begley Jr. was inspired by his father to become an actor. His father won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1962 film "Sweet Bird of Youth." The big break for Ed Begly Jr. came when he was cast as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the long-running television series "St. Elsewhere," for which he received six Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nomination. Begley's feature film credits include "Pineapple Express," "A Mighty Wind," "Best In Show," "For Your Consideration," "Batman Forever," "The Accidental Tourist," "The In-Laws," and many others. On television, Begley had recurring roles on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "CSI: Miami," for the Network. Additional television credits include "Six Feet Under," "Veronica Mars," "7th Heaven," "Arrested Development" and "Boston Legal."

Called "dynamic" by the New York Times, San Francisco native Al Madrigal's flair for storytelling has established him as one of the nation's premiere stand-up comedians. He won the "Jury Award for Best Stand-up Comedian" at the 2004 HBO Comedy Festival. He was a regular cast member on the CBS comedy "Welcome to the Captain," and can be seen regularly on television in his own half-hour "Comedy Central Presents" special, as well as frequent guest spots on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."

Kathryn Newton's entrance into show business began at the age of four when she was cast as Colby Chandler on the popular soap opera, "All My Children." It was a recurring role she would end up playing for five years. Newton's other acting credits include the independent films "Bun-Bun" and "Abbie Down East." In addition to television and movies, she has accumulated a long list of commercial and print jobs to add to her resume.

Pilot Plot:

#1 Pilot
Gary's ex-wife has got engaged and he finds himself trying to navigate fatherhood and his own new love interest. The series opens with a scene of Gary and Vanessa in bed. She shows him one of her tattoos. We learn that Gary owns his own painting business and has 2 kids. Allison comes to the house to talk to Gary and the kids. Gary goes to his son's room and has a few funny lines about computers. Gary talks to one of his employees, Dennis, and Vanessa at a job. Back at the house, he talks to Allison and his daughter, Louise. His son, Tommy, has a girl in his room. Dr. Walter Crandall, Gary's former marriage counselor and Allison's new fiancé, has a few words with Gary and Allison. Vanessa visits with her son, Parker. The episode closes with a scene with Gary and Vanessa where they discuss their future plans.

Written by Ed Yeager
Directed by James Burrows
Guest Stars: Ashley Farley as Danielle, Charles Henry Wyson (or Jackson Fox) as Parker


Gary Unmarried was originally titled Project Gary. The multi-camera sitcom is filmed in front of a studio audience. The pilot gives us a good introduction to all of the characters and has some funny lines. Jay Mohr returns to a sitcom. You may remember him from the critics' favorite, Action, on Fox about a decade ago. Here he plays your typical sitcom dad. He's in virtually every scene and has the funniest lines in the pilot. One of the best is when his son is talking about a computer game and he says that when he was a kid that they didn't have anything like that and they had outside. Paula Marshall plays his ex-wife, Allison, and appears frequently in the pilot. The chemistry between Jay Mohr and Paula Marshall is evident from the very beginning. Paula Marshall has often been referred to as the female version of Ted McGinley with the shows she has been on not lasting very long. Maybe this will be the right role for her. Jaime King plays Gary's new girlfriend named Vanessa. I enjoyed her on another CBS sitcom, The Class. Larry Miller was originally cast as Allison's new fiancé, but he was replaced by Ed Begley Jr. in the pilot. Larry would have been funny in the part, but maybe they were looking for somebody that looked older and Ed does have the look of a doctor. He's not given a lot in the pilot, but I expect his role to expand in future episodes. He was hilarious on Arrested Development. Ryan Malgarini does a good job as the son who is nervous around girls. Laura Marano was originally cast as the daughter, but she was replaced by Kathryn Newton and they re-taped the scenes. Poor girl was also replaced on Back to You last season. She just has had bad luck and hopefully can find the right role in the future. The pilot I was sent had Laura Marano in it, so I've not seen the reshot scenes with Kathryn Newton.


This sitcom has a lot of promise. It was cast well and the pilot was funny. I also saw the pilot of Worst Week and would give a slight edge to that one because of the physical comedy and sheer wildness of it. Gary Unmarried is the more traditional, multi-camera sitcom. One of the producers also worked on Still Standing, and I can see the similarities between the two. The setup is also similar to the show that is airing right before it, The New Adventures of Old Christine. Will they be a good match? Old Christine has a large female audience, but it will be interesting to see how many stick around for it.

CBS has tried unsuccessfully to launch a second night of comedy on Wednesdays. The competition will be tough with ABC's Pushing Daisies, NBC's Knight Rider and Fox's Bones. The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried should greatly improve on the ratings of last season's Kid's Nation. The pilot is worth checking out. I wasn't sure how Jay Mohr would play a blue-collar guy with kids, but he manages to pull it off. It will be interesting to see how the character's relationships will play out in future episodes. Ed Begley Jr. was underutilized in the pilot, so I expect to see him more in upcoming episodes. Tune in for the pilot on September 24 and see if you crave "mohr" episodes on Wednesdays at 8:30 ET/PT on CBS.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd on 09/19/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 24 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Official Site
  • Gary Unmarried Fan Site
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Gary Unmarried Photo Gallery

    Here are our Emmy Awards picks for The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will air Sunday (Sept. 21) at 8/7 central on ABC. It will be a night to remember memorable TV moments as the Emmys turn the big 6-0!

    Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
    The Office (NBC)
    Two and a Half Men (CBS)
    30 Rock (NBC)
    Entourage (HBO)
    OUR PICK: 30 Rock. I'm pissed no Pushing Daisies.

    Lost (ABC)
    House (Fox)
    Damages (FX)
    Boston Legal (ABC)
    Mad Men (AMC)
    Dexter (Showtime)
    OUR PICK: Lost. It so deserves it (sorry Mad Men).

    Tony Shalhoub, Monk (USA Network)
    Steve Carell, The Office (NBC)
    Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)
    Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
    Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies (ABC)
    OUR PICK: Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies. Really anyone can win here but of the toughest calls.

    America Ferrera, Ugly Betty (ABC)
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Old Christine (CBS)
    Christina Applegate, Samantha Who? (ABC)
    Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds (Showtime)
    Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
    OUR PICK: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who? I've got a hunch. It could be Fey or Ferrera though.

    Hugh Laurie, House (FOX)
    James Spader, Boston Legal (ABC)
    Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Gabriel Bryne, In Treatment (HBO)
    Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)
    Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
    OUR PICK: James Spader, Boston Legal. He wins it every year, but maybe Hamm can win it.

    Glenn Close, Damages (FX)
    Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
    Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT)
    Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
    Holly Hunter, Saving Grace (TNT)
    OUR PICK: Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters. Going for the two-peat, but can Sedgwick win it?

    Kevin Dillion, Entourage (HBO)
    John Cryer, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
    Rainn Wilson, The Office (NBC)
    Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
    Jeremy Piven, Entourage (HBO)
    OUR PICK: Jeremy Piven, Entourage.

    Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty (ABC)
    Amy Poehler, SNL (NBC)
    Jean Smart, Samantha Who? (ABC)
    Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies (ABC)
    Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
    OUR PICK: Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies. Olive is hysterical!

    Zeljko Ivanek, Damages (FX)
    William Shatner, Boston Legal (ABC)
    John Slattery, Mad Men (AMC)
    Ted Danson, Damages (FX)
    Michael Emerson, Lost (ABC)
    OUR PICK: Ted Danson, Damages. Wouldn't be surprised if Shatner won it.

    Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
    Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
    Candice Bergen, Boston Legal (ABC)
    Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
    Diane Wiest, In Treatment (HBO
    OUR PICK: Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy. She was fantastic this year and so deserves it.

  • New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

    09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
    09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
    09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
    09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
    09/20 - Veep - Season 5
    09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, October 25

    The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.

    American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.

    The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.

    Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.

    Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.

    Complete TV Listings

    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

    Tuesday, October 25

    • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
    • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.