Thursday, September 13 2012 18:05

NBC's GUYS WITH KIDS - The Rock Father Pilot Review

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Last night, NBC got their Fall Season started a little early with sneak-peeks at the pilot episodes of two new comedies, THE NEW NORMAL (not about being a Dad, but using an oft-used term for "Stay at home Dads" as it's title) and the Dad-centric, GUYS WITH KIDS. I'm not a big sitcom guy, and while I skipped 'Normal, I had GUYS WITH KIDS set to record on the DVR for later viewing, lured by it's subject matter and Jimmy Fallon's involvement in the series. After viewing it this afternoon, I can confidently say that GUYS WITH KIDS will be a big hit... but not with guys with kids.

propbabiesIn my travels through the blogosphere it's become apparent that a lot of modern dads can be overly-sensitive at times when it comes to the depiction of dads in the media. Hell, even I've been irritated a couple of times, but the main reason for it is because it's happens constantly. Now, GUYS WITH KIDS isn't terrible by sitcom standards, but they took the road most-traveled when it comes to cheap and easy laughs - and to make matters worse, the show has a laugh track, a fact I came across earlier via a conversation with Canadian Dad on twitter.  When a show has a laugh track, you can generally count me out.

The set-up of the show is pretty simple: The Stay-at-home Dad, The Married Dad, The Single/Divorced Dad. You've got a trio of friends united by fatherhood, which is great in principle, but nowhere in the pilot episode is there any indication that either of these men are proud and/or happy to be dads. This guy whines that he's "got four kids" (an unfunny quip stated repeatedly)... that guy is inconvenienced when it comes to going out for a date... and numero three? He doesn't understand that his wife wants some time alone. The kids are essentially prop accessories lugged around as a MacGuffin to push along a fairly standard, generally unfunny "plot" which is hardly there to begin with. And then you have basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who appears in a guest spot as a date for the divorced guy's ex-wife. Why they chose Kareem is baffling, as his appearance would've been far more relevant if it was 1980 and AIRPLANE! had just come out.

GUYS WITH KIDS had the opportunity to be something really good, think "ENTOURAGE for Dads", but instead it's just a run-of-the-mill sitcom that offers nothing new... and the general tv-watching public tends to love this stuff. You could even switch out the sets with past shows and no one would ever notice. The generic "urban apartment"... the generic "local bar"... hey, is that "movie theater concession stand" a leftover from SEINFELD

Being a stay-at-home dad myself, I managed to watch this show while serving a 3-year-old her peanut butter sandwich and Goldfish Crackers for lunch as I washed the morning bottles from the newborn and changed a diaper. Sadly, no bumbling hysterics ensued.

GUYS WITH KIDS will air Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC beginning September 26, 2012. Check out the official site for more details. 

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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