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 (September)

    New Girl - The Complete Season Three The Goldbergs - The Complete First Season The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Seventh Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season One How I Met Your Mother - The Ninth and Legendary Final Season

    Modern Family - The Complete Fifth Season Mom - The Complete First Season Mike & Molly - The Complete Fourth Season

    09/02 - Benson - Season 1 (Mill Creek) / Season 2 / Seasons 1 & 2
    09/02 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Halloween Episodes Collection
    09/02 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season Nine
    09/02 - The League - The Complete Season Five
    09/02 - New Girl - The Complete Season Three
    09/02 - Soap - Season 1 (Mill Creek) / Season 2 / Seasons 1 & 2
    09/02 - What's Happening!! - Season 1 (Mill Creek) / Season 2 / Seasons 1 & 2
    09/09 - The Goldbergs - The Complete First Season
    09/11 - Growing Up Fisher - Season One
    09/16 - About a Boy - Season One
    09/16 - Awkward - Season 3
    09/16 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray/DVD)
    09/16 - South Park - Season 17 (Blu-ray)
    09/23 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season One
    09/23 - How I Met Your Mother - The Ninth and Legendary Final Season / The Complete Series
    09/23 - Mama's Family - The Complete Fifth Season / The Complete Collection
    09/23 - Modern Family - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/23 - Mom - The Complete First Season
    09/30 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 1 (MPI)
    09/30 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Fourth Season
    Other TV Series:
    09/02 - Grey's Anatomy - The Complete Tenth Season
    09/09 - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    09/16 - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Fourteenth Season
    09/16 - Castle - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/23 - Nashville - The Complete Second Season
    09/23 - Scandal - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Sunday, September 21

    Bob's Burgers - "Bob and Deliver" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    To Tina's delight, Bob becomes the substitute “Home Ec” teacher at her school and ends up creating a full-scale restaurant in the classroom. However, her excitement is short-lived as Bob's position causes father/daughter friction. But when Gene and Louise go to work for Bob’s “school” restaurant, Linda must fend for herself at the family’s “other” restaurant (aka Bob’s Burgers).

    The Simpsons - "What to Expect When Bart's Expecting" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Bart can’t stand art class. So he makes a voodoo doll of his art teacher. But when his spell makes her pregnant instead, he becomes a savior to Springfield couples trying to conceive. Then, he’s kidnapped to help conceive a thoroughbred race horse.

    The Simpsons - "Pay Pal" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Marge swears off befriending any more couples when Homer offends their charming new British neighbors. But when Lisa declares that she, too, doesn’t need friends, Marge reconsiders.

    Family Guy - "The Most Interesting Man in the World" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Peter takes Stewie to the park for some quality father-son time, he mistakenly takes the wrong baby home, prompting Lois to call him an idiot. Determined to prove to her that he’s a responsible adult, Peter goes on a business trip to Chicago and returns as an intelligent, classy person.

    Family Guy - "Herpe, the Love Sore" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Brian gives Stewie an STD. Meanwhile, Peter and the guys fight back when another group claims their booth at The Drunken Clam.

    American Dad - "Blagsnart, A Love Story" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Fox Finale)
    Roger and Francine discover an alien (guest voice Kim Kardashian) in the woods, and Roger capriciously has a one-night relationship with her before being fed up with her quirks. He tries to get rid of her by calling the CIA, but then realizes that he can’t go through with it.

    Austin & Ally - "Videos & Villains" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Austin disappears before his performance on ``Video Countdown Live''; the group finds out that Brooke is holding him hostage until he writes her a song.

    Liv and Maddie - "Premiere-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The family is ready to compete against one another in the Wisconsin Cheddar-Brat Fest; Liv's premiere of ``Space Werewolves'' is the same night.

    I Didn't Do It - "Logan's Run" (Disney Channel, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Logan fakes an injury before Lindy's charity jog-a-thon after learning that his friends think he runs awkwardly; Delia gets Brenda fired from Rumble Juice and tries to find her another job.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 15) (All times ET unless noted)

    Friday, September 19

    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Watch Michael on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Catch Tina on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is tentatively scheduled to appear on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York sometime between 7-10am.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Rachel Lefevre (Life on a Stick/Big Wolf on Campus) - Rachel will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Billy Crystal (Soap) - Billy chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island) - Dawn talks about her new book (What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life) on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel at 8:52am.