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

Analysis:

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.

Conclusion:

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:


  • CBS.com Official Site
  • Gary Unmarried Fan Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • 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!

    COMEDY SERIES
    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.

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

    LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
    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 Sheen...one of the toughest calls.

    LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
    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.

    LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
    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.

    LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
    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?

    SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
    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.

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
    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!

    SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
    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.

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
    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.

  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, February 19

    The Goldbergs - "Dave Kim's Party" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    A big party is being thrown at Dave Kim’s house and Pops has a plan to make Adam cool for the big event. Meanwhile, Beverly’s cookbook has made her “famous,” leading her to become out of control and fame-hungry, but eventually she learns an important lesson.

    Schooled - "Moving On" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Wilma steps in to help CB move on from Lainey with help from Coach Mellor, while Lainey learns she has unresolved issues from her past when mentoring a student.

    Modern Family - "Spuds" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Phil and Claire take Haley and Dylan to dinner to reassure them they are not bad parents. While out to dinner, they run into Mitch and Cam who are chaperoning Lily’s first date, as well as Jay and Gloria after attending Joe’s school play.

    Single Parents - "Hip$ for Dolores" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    After rent on the Winebrary goes up, the gang all chip in in their own ways to help solve Poppy’s new financial problem, each learning a valuable lesson in the process.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 17)

    Wednesday, February 19

    • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Lil Rel Howery (Rel/The Carmichael Show) - Lil Rel appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
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    • Adam Pally (Indebted/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam drops by The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jurnee Smollett-Bell (On Our Own) - Jurnee appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Da'Vine Joy Randolph (High Fidelity/People of Earth/Selfie) - Da'Vine talks about High Fidelity on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Suzanne Somers (Step by Step/She's the Sheriff/Three's Company) - Suzanne is a guest on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren appears on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly is a guest on People Now at 12pm.
    • Lark Voorhies (Saved by the Bell/In the House) - The actress who portrayed Lisa Turtle on the iconic teen sitcom Saved by the Bell opens up about her mental health challenges and her reaction to being left out of the reboot of the show on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


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