Monday, July 30, 2007

My Boys: It rubs the lotion on its skin...

"My Boys" was a show that really grew on me last season, yet I never got around to blogging on it, and I didn't have a chance to write a column about the new season due to press tour brain fatigue. Some general thoughts on the series and brief spoilers for the two new episodes coming right up...

I will never pretend that "My Boys" is a great comedy, maybe not even a very good one, but I like all the characters and it makes me laugh out loud at least two or three times an episode, which is more than I can say for more respectable comedies like "Weeds" (which I happen to like, but in an ironic detachment way).

The problems are obvious: P.J.'s sports-themed voiceovers are every bit as annoying and obvious as the Carrie Bradshaw columns that inspired them. Even if you allow for the fact that Cubs home games take place in the daytime (freeing her up for all those nighttime poker game), P.J. seems an even less credible sportswriter than Ray Barone. (Though this may be one of those things where it's more glaring to me as a journalist, the way my wife used to yell at the TV during "ER.") Wherever the show is filmed, it doesn't feel like it actually takes place in Chicago. The writers don't really know how to deal with P.J.'s hotness and her boys' attraction to same; Bobby nearly slept with her in the pilot and then it was dropped like it never happened, she and Brendan have now almost gotten together a few times and again it's being ignored, and it's been implied a few times that Kenny has a major crush on her but is too afraid to do anything about it. I'm not saying the writers need to pair her off with any of the guys, but it would be more of an issue than it is, and it's something the show tries to ignore because it would complicate the just-one-of-the-guys premise.

All of that being said, "My Boys" passes the Time Test, in that these characters (as a group, if not individually) are people I would like to hang out with in real life, and whom I enjoy inviting into my living room for an hour a week in the summer. It's a fun show, and at times (especially when Gaffigan's involved) a quite funny show, as demonstrated in both of tonight's episodes.

While the first episode has to spend a chunk of time trying to undo P.J. and Brendan's cliffhanging clinch from last season, there's a bunch of fun scenes, like the guys who got to the poker game early trying to tip off the latecomers about the condition of Kenny's girlfriend, or Mike and Kenny mapping out Bobby's entire celebrity career (complete with stupid theme song), or, especially, P.J.'s on-air, Jame Gumb-quoting meltdown, or the unlikely foursome at the bed store.

So I'll be watching this summer, and blogging at least some of the time, and as I recall from the What Do You Want? thread, at least some of you will be watching with me.

What did everybody else think?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yay!Alan, I too, think this show is enjoyable...the characters do seem like people you would want to know and hang out with and I am willing to overlook the triteness for a few laugh out loud moments each show offers. I look forward to your commentary. I am also really enjoying your take on Freaks & Geeks.

Anonymous said...

I must confess that I have never watched an episode. I remember that this show was heavily promoted on television commercials and during those annoying pre-film commercials which have become so ubiquitous of late at the multiplexes. The premise looked so bad that I avoided the show. I can't believe that it lasted a full season and got renewed. Maybe I should watch . . .

Anonymous said...

This is a fun summertime show. I am glad to read that you're watching it. I didn't get the "silence of the lambs" lotion reference, but I feel better knowing where in the heck that came from.

Heather K said...

I will be watching, but I feel like it is more because I like these people then I like this show. I want to go find that pub--it has to be in my neighborhood.

I kind of wish they hadn't run away fro their cliffhanger, but I like the show anyway. Even if living in Chicago makes it glaringly obvious that they really don't live there--no matter how many times they say Charlie Trotter's.

Kristen said...

Una mas!

We find this show very enjoyable, and while they may not do a perfect job at it looking like it's Chicago, they throw in enough in-jokes that those of us who live here can appreciate it. The bit about Andy possibly moving to Naperville was especially choice...

Nicole said...

I'm with you on the voice overs. The sports metaphors are really painful and forced and if that whole part could be removed, the show is otherwise enjoyable. I don't know if I would watch this in the fall, but there is decent chemistry between the cast, even with the suggestion that some of them have a thing for PJ. They may be better off pairing her with someone outside the group, and then she can continue being one of the guys. However, they seem to be setting up a possible return with Brendan, which kinda seemed out of the blue last year.

Anonymous said...

i have an absurd attachment to the show, despite the fact that i could never defend the show as "good." its all because of the constant reminders of how my life parallels the characters'. mostly pj's.

to address the "hotness" problem, perhaps i'm giving myself (or my friends) too much credit, but i think when people have known each other for years, as the characters have, attractions become ingrained, but live beneath the surface. they're forgotten about in day to day life, until 2 people are too drunk and awkwardness, or tension, or something more happens. and then its a brief issue, its dealt with, and it goes back to being submerged.
in any case, my boys remains my guiltiest pleasure

Tom G said...

I'm disappointed I forgot to watch it., hopefully I can dig it up somehow on my DVR, anyone know how I can catch re-runs of these two episodes?

Gaffigan is quite funny when doing comedy. I catch his routines every so often on XM Radio, and he always gets a laugh out of me.

Hey, the Phillies are playing in Chicago right now, maybe there can be an episode where Pat Burrell hits on her...

Blankity-Blank said...

The first two episodes of season 2 reair tonight at 11pm (Eastern, anyway.)

Also, Season 1 wasn't a summer show. It was on in November and December 2006.

And really? Brendan and PJ seemed out of the blue? That's clearly where they were headed from episode 1. I didn't think they'd head there so quickly, but I guess when you don't have a lot of episodes things move a little faster.

Anonymous said...

Former (I think) Star-Ledger reporter Kimberly Jones has been discussing this show while co-hosting the WFAN morning show with Chris Carlin.

Carlin urged her to watch the show because of the parallel to her life, but she didn't like it at all.

I think she felt that the woman was an empty skirt (my phrase) as opposed to the guys, who were intended to have actual personalities.

I've never seen the show, so I don't have an opinion. Besides, if a show's going to be about a beautiful personality-free woman, I'll stick with my cherished memories of "Flying Blind."

This morning, they also had a long discussion about how neither they nor anyone they knew had ever watched any of this week's Nielsen Top 20.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Kim still writes an NFL notes column for us on Sundays, but she's pretty much a full-time TV type these days.

And if she didn't like the first two episodes, she's going to hate next week's episode, which is all about P.J. getting flirty with a new Cubs pitcher.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those girls who will watch any repeat of Sex and the City no matter how many times I've already seen it, so I welcome "My Boys" as a decent derivative. I'm also from Chicago and appreciate the references, even if they're often forced and cursory.

Alan, maybe you can answer this, but does show creator Betsy Thomas have connections to Second City? I've enjoyed the cameos by alums like Neil Flynn, Jack McBrayer and Ian Gomez. Curious to see how that continues this season.

Dani in NC said...

I like this show. I agree with some of the other commenters who said they probably wouldn't watch this during the fall when there is more competition, but it is perfect for summertime. My favorite thing about the show is when you think it is going to go the traditional sitcom route, it goes in the other direction. One episode that springs to mind from last season is when the gang made fun of Trouty. Instead of covering it up, they admitted to him why they made fun of him and what traits he had that put people off. I like it when show writers don't take the easy way out.