Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CBS Fall Pilot Review: How to Be a Gentleman - Premieres September 29; TeenNick Adds Hey Dude,The Amanda Show, More To The '90s Are All That Block

How to Be a Gentleman

How to Be a Gentleman - Thursdays 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 8:30PM ET/PT


Columnist Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) thinks that he is the "perfect gentleman" in How to Be a Gentleman, but when the publication that he is working for undergoes some significant demographic changes, he either has to change his views or face unemployment. His problem? While he knows how to be a perfect gentleman, he doesn't know how to be the perfect man. He's always been the guy to hold doors open for women and to keep his areas clean and tidy, but he has also been the kid who was constantly bullied when he was younger.

The changes at his magazine, which require Andrew to change his column, are only the beginning of the changes for Andrew's life. While seeking out ways to reinvent his column, Andrew runs into former high school bully Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon), who now runs a gym. The meeting with Bert gives Andrew a chance to begin reassessing everything that he may be able to write for his column, and further gives him an opportunity to reassess his life, and what it truly means to be a gentleman.

Cast Details:

David Hornsby as Andrew Carlson
Kevin Dillon as Bert Lansing
Dave Foley as Jerry
Mary Lynn Rajskub as Janet
Rhys Darby as Mike

David Hornsby (Andrew) is the star of the series, the columnist who writes about "how to be a perfect gentleman." He has appeared in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Joe Schmo Show, and Six Feet Under. In addition to his role in the series, he is also the creator of the series.

Kevin Dillon (Bert) plays the guy who is going to teach Andrew how to be a man in the series. If the last name sounds familiar, it should: he is the younger brother of actor Matt Dillon. But Kevin Dillon has also had success of his own, playing the role of Drama in the recently ended HBO series Entourage, as well as roles in movies such as Platoon.

Dave Foley (Jerry) plays Andrew's boss at the magazine, a boss who is resistant to the changes, but is too close to retirement to fight them. Canadian-born Foley played the starring role of Dave Nelson in the 90s NBC series NewsRadio, and has had countless guest-starring roles in series such as The New Adventures of Old Christine, Will & Grace, Brothers & Sisters, and many more.

Mary Jane Rajskub (Janet) plays the role of Andrew's sister in the series. Rajskub is well-known for her starring role as Chloe O'Brien on the series 24. She has also had roles in The Larry Sanders Show, NewsRadio, and Veronica's Closet. Additionally, she was one of the original cast members of Mr. Show.

Rhys Darby (Mike) plays Janet's husband and Andrew's quirky brother-in-law. The New Zealand born actor is best known to viewers in the United States as Murray from the HBO series Flight of the Conchords.


Pilot Plot:

In the pilot episode, we are introduced to Andrew Carlson, the author of a magazine column about how to be a perfect gentleman. We see how he is the perfect Mr. Manners. But this all comes crashing down during a meeting with his boss Jerry, who informs Andrew that changes are about to come to the magazine. A new owner of the magazine doesn't see profits in the magazine as it is, and wants to retool the magazine to a more hip and edgier magazine for modern men.

During an incredibly depressing birthday dinner with his sister and brother-in-law, where Andrew recounts all of his failures in life and his disdain over the new changes, Andrew receives a gift of a training session at a gym. Andrew doesn't really like this gift, but a perfect gentleman always uses a gift, whether he likes it or not. When he goes to the gym, he runs in to Bert. Bert used to bully Andrew in high school, but this encounter begins a new relationship between the two when Andrew begins to use Bert's wisdom to help him adapt to the changes in the magazine, as well as his life in general.

Analysis:

Can anybody say Felix Unger and Oscar Madison forty years later? I think that is a fair assessment of what this series is, and this series takes on a lot of the classic series The Odd Couple. Now sometimes, imitation is bad, but in this series, it seems to be rather well executed, and unlike many pilots out there, this puts a fresh perspective on an old idea.

There weren't really that many moments in the pilot that I disliked, and unlike many pilots that I have seen, the action seemed to move pretty fast in the pilot. It seems that many pilots are very slow to develop the main plot of the series, and get annoying by the end of the first episode, often setting a bad tone for the entire series. This one didn't.

As for the comedy of the series, it seemed a bit subdued in the pilot, but that isn't to say that the series is unfunny. A series like this one, on how to be manly, is a perfect setup for some good comedy. The pilot didn't fully take advantage of those capabilities, but I'm hoping that as the series goes on, it will take advantage of them a bit more. Luckily, though, the pilot seemed to be well-written, and good writing can often make up for other areas that may be lacking.

My only criticism of the series is the casting of Kevin Dillon in the role of Bert. That isn't to say that I dislike Kevin Dillon. In fact, I like his acting, and enjoyed him in Entourage. But to me, he seems (and I'll add, is) too old to be playing one of Andrew's classmates from high school. He is about ten years older than Hornsby, and at least in my opinion, the difference really was evident. However, with the series set to air already, this is, lamentably, something that is going to have to remain as is, and despite that age difference, he does well in the role--he just isn't the right person.


Conclusion:

I actually liked the pilot of the series, and I'm hopeful that this could be a great series to add to my weekly viewing schedule. Even though it really is just a modern-day take on The Odd Couple (and I think you'll see that in the first few seconds of the series), it brings that type of show to the modern era. I feel like the odds are against this series from the beginning, as CBS still hasn't established a level of success for the 8:30 Thursday slot, even though they were able to transfer viewers of The Big Bang Theory to the Thursday night slot. But maybe this series will work in the slot after The Big Bang Theory, as viewers will be able to relate the character of Andrew to some on The Big Bang Theory. I hope that this series at least goes for a full season, and perhaps longer. It has potential that I rarely see in new sitcoms these days.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/28/11

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 29 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • How to Be a Gentleman Photo Gallery

    Preview:





    Effective this week, Doug and Clarissa Explains It All returned to The '90s Are All That block on TeenNick, but that's not all! More shows are coming. For now, Rocko's Modern Life and Hey Arnold! are off the line-up after three weeks, but they could return at some point. All That and Kenan & Kel are still scheduled to stay on the air to kick off the weeknight late night block in the 12-1am hour (encores 2-3am). Onto the new series, replacing Clarissa Explains It starting next week (Monday, Oct. 3), will be Hey Dude! The early '90s comedic western will air at 1am with an encore at 3am. As of now, it is scheduled for two weeks. Then starting October 17, the half-hour will be the Amanda Bynes series The Amanda Show. Then starting Oct. 31, just in time for Halloween it is Are You Afraid of the Dark? at 1am and 3am! It looks like a rotating wheel of classic Nick series is airing in this timeslot. Doug is remaining put in the 1:30am half-hour.
    That's not all! Fridays starting next week (Oct. 7) will see the return of someone familiar. Stick Stickly! Every Friday night will now be: "The 90s Are All That! U Pick with Stick." Yes, Stick Stickly returns to host a special viewer's choice night of The '90s Are All That with options for some rarely seen Nick gems. There are eight choices for the first week: 1. Clarissa Explains It All: The "Normal" Episode, 2. My Brother and Me: Dee Dee Can't Dance, 3. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Snorch Episode, 4. Salute Your Shorts: The Bunk Chief Episode, 5. Rugrats: The Chocolate Milk Football Episode, 6. The First Angry Beavers' Episode, 7. Legends Of The Hidden Temple: The Talking Rock and 8. Doug's Golden Toe Episode.
    Vote for your favorite on the official website! It's a two-hour block, so I think four of these eight will air. This is a nice way to air the rarely seen classics! Friday nights just got better!

  • New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

    2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
    Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

    10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
    10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
    10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
    10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
    10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
    10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
    10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
    10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
    10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
    10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
    10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
    11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
    11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
    11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
    11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
    11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
    11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
    12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
    12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
    12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
    12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, October 22

    The Middle - "The Table" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    As Frankie and Mike wish each other a happy 20-somethingth wedding anniversary, Axl decides that he and Hutch need to class up their broke-down house and find another roommate to help with expenses. But while helping Axl track down a dining room table to help spruce up his house, Frankie finds a full dining set on sale online for $50 and ends up giving Axl the Heck house dining room table, while she excitedly looks forward to her new purchase. Meanwhile, after being presented with a special necklace to proclaim his love, Sue becomes angry with her boyfriend, Darrin, when she discovers that he had also given the same gift to his former girlfriend. And Brick begins a podcast. Jimmy Kimmel guest stars as himself.

    The Goldbergs - "Shall We Play a Game?" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Adam inadvertently gets Barry kicked out of the cool group (Jenkintown Posse) of friends at school and must come up with a plan to get his brother back in. Adam convinces Barry and his friends he has the skills to hack into the school computer system to change their grades, but does he? Later, Beverly is immediately jealous when she learns Erica hangs out with a friend’s cooler mom and sets out to show Erica she can be cool too.

    Modern Family - "Won't You Be Our Neighbor" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Phil is selling the house next door and he and Claire are excited by the prospect of having wonderful new neighbors, but that quickly turns into panic when a loud and obnoxious couple (guest stars Steve Zahn and Andrea Anders) come to look at the house. Jay forbids Manny to see his new girlfriend when he realizes she’s the granddaughter of his biggest business rival, leading to a clash of the closet titans. Elsewhere, Mitch and Cam are determined to switch Lily out of Mrs. Plank’s (guest star Tyne Daly) class since she is known to rule with an iron fist – not to mention she scares them too.

    black-ish - "Crime and Punishment" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Although Dre and Rainbow agreed they would no longer spank their kids, all bets might be off when Jack disobeys. Now, Zoey, Junior, Diane and a nervous Jack are afraid that their parents will go back on their word.

    Melissa & Joey - "Witch Came First" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Mel's doctor drops in on Halloween and reveals that Mel was once a teenage witch.

    Baby Daddy - "Strip or Treat" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Ben, Danny and Tucker end up in jail when their plans to attend a big Halloween party go awry.

    The League - "Man Land" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Jenny's dad (Corbin Bernsen) takes the guys camping. Andre and Russell go into business together. Pete's new team name offends Kevin who refuses to say it.

    Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "The Restraining Order" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Keisha retaliates by serving Richard with a restraining order; Marcus brings in an attorney to help out his friend.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

    Wednesday, October 22

    • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Watch Jason on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Mike Epps (Survivor's Remorse) - Mike drops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent/Arrested Development/The Larry Sanders Show) - Jeffrey appears on a repeat of The Colbert Report at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) - Kat stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny chats on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Henry Zebrowski (A to Z) - Henry is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Ty Burrell (Modern Family/Back to You/Out of Practice) - Ty appears on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Fred Savage and Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) - Fred and Danica chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Tori Spelling (Mystery Girls) - Tori opens up about the cheating scandal that left her marriage in shambles, how she juggles four kids, business ventures and salvaging her relationship with her husband on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse visits The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Elise Neal (The Hughleys) - Elise is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.