Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CBS Fall Pilot Review: $#*! My Dad Says - Premieres September 23; Hallmark Dumps Martha Encores for Little House Afternoon Airings

$#*! My Dad Says

$#*! My Dad Says - Thursdays 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 8:30PM ET/PT

$#*! MY DAD SAYS (pronounced "Bleep My Dad Says"), based on the popular Twitter feed by Justin Halpern, stars Emmy Award winner William Shatner as Ed Goodson, a forthright and opinionated dad who relishes expressing his unsolicited and often wildly politically incorrect observations to anyone within earshot. Nobody is safe from Ed's rants, including his sons, Henry, a struggling writer-turned-unpaid blogger; and Vince, the meek half of a husband/wife real estate duo with domineering Bonnie. When Henry finds he can no longer afford to pay rent, Ed reveals a soft spot and invites Henry to move in with him. Henry agrees, knowing that the verbal assault will not abate and now there will be no escape. Describing their father/son relationship is tricky, but Ed will easily come up with a few choice words.

Cast Details:

* William Shatner as Ed
* Jonathan Sadowski as Henry
* Nicole Sullivan as Bonnie
* Will Sasso as Vince

William Shatner's (Ed) career has spanned over 50 years. He's an Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, director, producer, screenwriter, recording artist, author, and horseman. He is one of pop culture's most recognizable figures and a Hollywood philanthropist. In 1966, Shatner originated the role of Captain James T. Kirk in the television series Star Trek, which rocketed to fame - but only after the show was cancelled and then later re-launched in syndication. The series spawned a feature film franchise in which Shatner reprised the role of Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek motion pictures. Shatner played the title role in the series T.J. Hooker before hosting one of television's new generation of reality-based series, Rescue 911, which aired on CBS for six seasons.

He has since guest-starred in several hundred television programs, including classics such as The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Mission: Impossible. He also recurred on other staples, including 77 Sunset Strip and Dr. Kildare before garnering an Emmy nomination in 1999 for his appearances in 3rd Rock from the Sun. He made his feature film directorial debut in 1989 with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (in which he also starred and helped conceive the story). Since then, he has directed several other features, television movies and series.

In September 2004, Shatner won an Emmy Award for his recurring role as eccentric lawyer Denny Crane on The Practice, the David E. Kelley-created legal drama that finished its run in 2004. Shatner then reprised the role - this time as a series regular - on Boston Legal. He won his first Golden Globe Award in January 2005 and another Emmy Award that September. He has since earned four more Emmy nominations, a second Golden Globe nod as well as two SAG Award nominations. Shatner's Raw Nerve, an edgy and off-beat celebrity interview series, currently airs on the Bio channel.

Jonathan Sadowski's (Henry) film credits include She's the Man, Live Free or Die Hard, Friday the 13th and The Goods. His television credits include starring roles on Our Show, Two Dollar Beer, Courtroom K, Miss/Guided and a recurring role on The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Before moving from Vancouver, B.C., to Los Angeles, Will Sasso (Vince) starred for five seasons as quirky teen Derek Wakaluk on the award-winning Canadian series Madison. In 1997, he went on to star for five seasons on the hit sketch comedy series, MADtv, playing characters such as the accident-prone handyman Paul Timberman and doing offbeat impressions of Bill Clinton, Kenny Rogers, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Segal and Randy Newman.

Moviegoers know Sasso from his roles in over 30 feature films, including Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Beverly Hills Ninja, The Hot Chick and Happy Gilmore. Recently, Sasso appeared in the feature films College Road Trip and Southland Tales and will be seen in the upcoming films, Lower Learning and For Christ's Sake, which Sasso produced under his Lord Mucker Entertainment banner. Due for release in October 2010, Sasso stars in Life As We Know It opposite Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. Sasso has been busy the past several years writing/developing television series for several major studios and networks. In 2010, he teamed with producers Eric Tannenbaum and Mitch Hurwitz as well as writing partner Chad Kultgen, which resulted in the half-hour comedy pilot, Waiting To Die. He can be heard this season as the lead character in the animated series Neighbors From Hell.

Nicole Sullivan (Bonnie) has been acting since she was 7 years old. She attended Northwestern University where she spent four years studying the classics, including Shakespeare and Chekhov. After graduating on the Dean's List, she joined the Greenwich Shakespeare Company. In 1995, Sullivan joined the original cast of the hit sketch comedy show, MADtv, as its youngest cast member. In the six years that she worked on the show, she was credited with some of its funniest moments, playing memorable characters such as the Vancome Lady, and doing scathing impersonations of celebrities such as Britney Spears and Meg Ryan. In 2001, Sullivan joined the cast of The King of Queens on CBS as Holly, the dog-walker. Her numerous television guest appearances include Scrubs, Law & Order: SVU, Boston Legal and Monk. She also appeared in the feature films Guess Who and 17 Again.

As a distinguished comedic voice actor, Sullivan has lent her voice to numerous animated hits such as The Ant Bully and Meet the Robinsons. In addition, Sullivan lent her voice to a number of popular animated television shows, including Kim Possible, Family Guy, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Secret Saturdays and The Penguins of Madagascar. Since the end of September 2009, Sullivan has served as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, chronicling her "baby-weight loss" journey through a series of video and written blogs with a goal of losing 35 pounds. Her reveal was seen in a set of nationally televised commercials in spring and summer of 2010.

Pilot Plot:

#1 "Pilot" (Airs September 23, 2010)
After being laid off from his job writing for a men's magazine, Henry moves in with his cranky, outspoken father, Ed.
Directed by Jamesa Burrows
Written by David Kohan & Max Mutchnick and Justin Halpern & Patrick Schmacker
Guest stars: Tim Bagley as Tim, Steve Sandoval as Delivery man

Analysis:

I was hoping for a stronger pilot. It is a traditional multi-camera sitcom that is filmed in front of a studio audience. There just aren't enough laughs in the pilot. Some of the lines were very predictable and might be offensive to some. I think they put in a little too much drama and some emotional scenes where people might be expecting more non-stop jokes. It seems like they had a team of four writers on the pilot and they all weren't on the same page. Hopefully they will lighten the mood in future episodes. Legendary director James Burrows helms the pilot.

Henry goes to his father's home and needs to borrow some money after being laid off in the opening scene. Ed brings out a shotgun and tells him "guts or nuts - your choice." Henry wants to crash on the couch, but Ed tells him to use a cot in the attic. Henry's brother Vince and his wife Bonnie drop by to bring some groceries. In the kitchen, Henry tells Vince and Bonnie that he wants to have a relationship with his father, who he really hasn't known since he was 5. While "It Had To Be You" plays on the record player, Henry helps Ed study for his driving test. This is the song that Ed and his ex-wife used to dance to. A huge argument ensues between Henry and Ed. Ed talks to Vince and Eddie and tells them he won't be taking them up on their offer of moving in with them in their condo. Ed goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles to retake the driver's test. A delivery man brings a mattress to the house. Ed has bought him a bed as a nice gesture. Henry and Ed dance in the final scene.

The cast they've put together is a pretty good one. William Shatner does a fine job as the cranky and opinionated dad. He was great on Boston Legal as Denny Crane. The role of Henry was first played by Ryan Devlin in the original pilot. Jonathan Sadowski was recast in the role in July. He does a pretty good job with a mix of comedy and drama in the pilot. Will Sasso and Nicole Sullivan round out the cast. They are only in a few scenes in the pilot. They seem more like brother/sister than husband/wife, so maybe they will develop some more on-camera chemistry. Both bring a lot of comedic experience to the table. Hopefully their roles will be expanded a bit in future episodes. The show is mainly about the father/son relationship, but it will help to have some additional recurring characters. San Diego is the location for the show.

Conclusion:

When CBS first announced the show in the spring with William Shatner in the role of dad, I thought it would be the highest rated new comedy of the season. I was really expecting that they would put it on after Two and a Half Men on Monday nights. The Sh*t My Dad Says Twitter feed by Justin Halpern and best-selling book are very funny, but I don't think they translate as well on a broadcast sitcom. Some of the outrageous things and profanity that the real-life father says obviously can't be heard on network television. The show would be funnier and they could get away with more on cable. There are no bleeped out words in the pilot episode. I would expect the pilot to do well in the ratings. It does have a comfortable time slot between The Big Bang Theory and C.S.I.. I'm sure some people will tune in just because of the name of the show. Pavan has suggested they rename it Shat My Dad Says. DVR users might find it difficult to find under the current title.

William Shatner makes this show watchable. The pilot wasn't really great, so there is a lot of room for improvement in the writing department. There was some hard-hitting drama and emotional scenes that you don't usually find in a pilot episode of a sitcom. It does set up the storyline nicely, but I'm hoping for many more laughs and less seriousness in future episodes. They should also expand the roles of Will Sasso and Nicole Sullivan. Both have a lot of comedy experience, but they are barely used in the pilot. The pilot is more of a mix of comedy and drama, so this is a show that you will probably want to give 3-4 episodes before deciding to watch it for the rest of the season. It could take them a few weeks to find a comedic groove. Meet the Gordon family on CBS on Thursday nights at 8:30-9:00PM ET/PT.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd on 09/22/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 23 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • $#*! My Dad Says Photo Gallery

    Preview:



    Beginning Monday (September 27, 2010), Hallmark will make another schedule change to its new Martha Stewart daytime block. This week they tried shuffling the shows around a bit. Now next week, the 1pm-3pm block will get replaced with two encores of The Martha Stewart Show. This means, From Martha's Home, From Martha's Garden, From Martha's Kitchen and an encore of Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn will be pulled. That's not all, the 3pm-6pm block will be now three airings of Little House on the Prairie, as the "Martha Stewart Home" block gets cut to 11am-3pm only, instead of 11am-6pm. Little House replaces an encore of Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn and two encores of The Martha Stewart Show, which will move to 1-3pm, as we mentioned above.
    So, if you're wondering this is how the Martha block looks like now: 10am The Martha Stewart Show (premiere), 11am Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn (premiere), 11:30am Everyday Food (premiere), 12pm Whatever with Alexis & Jennifer (premiere), 1pm The Martha Stewart Show encore and 2pm The Martha Stewart Show encore. Little House on the Prairie will also remain in its current weeknights at 8pm slot as well.
    Stay with us for any further updates on any more changes. As sitcom fans, maybe we will get the 1pm-3pm hours back, too. We need I Love Lucy back on weekdays.

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