Monday, September 28, 2015

Grandfathered - 1.01 - Pilot - Preview

Grandfathered premieres Tues., Sept. 28 on FOX at 8/7 C.

Honesty check - the only reason I was initially interested in Grandfathered was John Stamos (Full House, ER, Necessary Roughness). I wanted to see how the stud of the 80's and 90's had aged and well, he already had a good track record working with kids. That said, I came into the premiere with low expectations because of the premise. Stamos plays Jimmy, a fun-loving 50-something bachelor who owns his own restaurant. His major job is to be charming and schmooze big wigs. Sadly the business is in a bit of a slump because a new restaurant opened up across the street and has been stealing his spotlight and clients. Jimmy wants to land the Deion Sanders' birthday party to pump up their buzz on social media. While in a planning meeting with Annelise, his business manager, a 20-something man named Gerald comes in and claims Jimmy is his father. Apparently Sara, Jimmy's ex and the only woman who ever broke his heart, didn't tell him she was pregnant when they broke up. Yikes! As if this isn't a big enough shock, Gerald then introduces his daughter and Jimmy goes from swinging bachelor to grandfather. Double yikes!

If you're leery about this premise, so was I. I expected to get a complete douche in a midlife crisis or someone so clueless about kids that it would be one endless stream of poop jokes. Refreshingly, this was neither. Yes, Jimmy is self-absorbed and insincere but he has a winning charisma and comes off as more obtuse sometimes than mean or blatantly rude. He also masters the art of diaper changing after watching Gerald do it once. There's no peeing in the face or exaggerated stinky diaper face here and that's a relief. After all, changing a diaper is not exactly rocket science. Mostly he freaks out in the same way any new parent would. Sara is also less stereotypical than I expected. While she does come on strong in the pilot, it is in defense of her child and grandchild instead of a childish spite against an ex. In fact, the relationship between the ex-lovers is far more clich├ęd than either character alone since they are definitely going to hook up again sooner rather than later.

Overall, Grandfathered exceeded my expectations by not being what I thought it would be. It's charming in parts and funny in others. There's a moment of real heart as well. By the end, the show feels like this unique family dynamic is going to pull together and ride out life's bumps as one. Special kudos go to John Stamos and Paget Brewster. Their characters felt natural and Paget steals every scene she's in. I do wish they would develop Gerald more though because while he comes off as a good-natured doofus, the character isn't very interesting now. Baby Mama Vanessa is equally one-dimensional. Still it's only the pilot. They've got time to grow. So does the show itself. If they continue to walk a more mature line and don't delve into crass humor, it has a shot of becoming weekly viewing to me. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Check out Grandfathered on Tues., Sept. 29 on FOX at 8/7 C.

Grade: B
Audience - those who like their comedy family based and full of both heart and laughs

Episode Awards:

Best Reason to Watch - it's funny but it's not stupid funny
Best Character - Sara, although I like Jimmy much better than I ever expected
Best Character Interaction - Sara and Annelise
Best Scene - Jimmy confronts Sara
Best Surprise - Jimmy isn't completely incompetent at being a grandparent until it comes to baby in the restaurant
Biggest Oops - Jimmy changes….
Most Awkward - the father-son hug
Least Surprising - Whenever a parent says the kid will sleep the whole time, it's guaranteed they will not. / Jimmy really loved Sara before.
Worst Plan - ambushing someone at work to tell them they are your father
Worst Prank - the freezer
Most Sympathetic - I have to side with Jimmy here. He can't be expected to just welcome a surprise son and his baby into his arms when it's sprung on him with no warning. Everyone needs time to process huge, life-changing events.
Most Clever - Sara at the hospital
Best Meta / Best Music - Wouldn't It be Nice by The Beach Boys
The "Welcome Back" Award - John Stamos from Full House and ER, Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds and Community, and Christina Milian from Snowglobe.

Great Quotes -

"Everyone, what's the one thing I've always said was missing from my life?" "A linen pant that goes from the beach to the bar." "Yes and the search continues."
"Jimmy, I hope this goes well. I do and I hate being the scolding, protective mother stereotype so I hope I only have to say this to you once. If you hurt my son or his daughter, I will choke you to death with your own overly moisturized hands. Okay, gotta run."
"Listen kid, I'm a 50 year old bachelor. We're society's most worthless people."
"Parenthood is pretty much an endless string of moments where you think you've killed your kid."
"You look great by the way. Deal with the devil really paid off." "Yeah, I'm on her side. She's awesome."

Screencaps by Hitfix, Sitcoms Online, Daily MailBlackfilm, FOX, and Return Dates.

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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