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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Uncle Jesse Is Back And It's, Um, Well... #Grandfathered #PremiereWeek #3WeekRoundup

Uncle Jesse Is Back And It's, Um, Well... #Grandfathered #PremiereWeek #3WeekRoundup

All pictures courtesy of FOX 

Note to the readers, sadly this is not a review of the revived TV/Netflix show Fuller House based off the lovely and star-making vehicle that was Full House from the 90s. And yes, while I know how duped you feel about me using Uncle Jesse to lure you in I will not apologize for it... sort of. OK, I am sorry for dangling that tasty bit of Grecian lure for you to bite into, but it had to been. Plus, the hype around the show Fuller House is one of the things that I'm sure helped John Stamos get his new role in Grandfathered (#Grandfathered) and remind people that he and his career weren't dead outside of his years spent posing as Bill Cosby of Jello to Oikos Greek yogurt. I'm sure he's choked enough of that down in the last decade or so to realize that hawking that product was not what he wanted to be doing for the rest of his life. That is not to say that Oikos isn't good, because if that's all he's been eating since his days of Full House 20 years ago, then I definitely need to be eating a lot more of that stuff myself.

Before I go farther into this review/recap of the first three episodes, I will point out that if you want my initial thoughts on this show click the #Premiere Week link up top and scroll down to the Fox section. For those not interested in doing that, I'll give a brief refresher and say that I wasn't all that thrilled about this or its brother show The Grinder with Rob Lowe (review of that coming later). Both seemed destined to lose and didn't seem to have the full support of FOX as far as advertising dollars went (I saw countless Scream Queens ads during the summer's Wayward Pines but almost nothing on these two shows). Hopes were not high.

In John Stamos' triumphant comedic return to TV--and no, Galavant does not count!--he plays a hot (as in popular) LA restaurateur (side note: I keep spelling that word wrong even though I know it doesn't have an 'n' in it). In his late 40s, early 50s he is having the bachelor time of his life, seeing grand successes at his restaurant, literally living the high life in what has got to be one of the only, what, six high-rises in the downtown LA landscape (come on, I lived in LA; it ain't New York or Chicago). Charming, charismatic and a ladies' man he has told not only the patrons of his establishment but himself and the occasional (read: plenteous) women he beds that all he really wants in life is family as it is the only thing left for him to achieve.

Ask and ye shall receive (dear God, I want two international bestselling books that will then propel my career to bigger, better things; yes, I'm a little vain), a much younger handsome guy played by Josh Peck--the fat kid from that Nickelodeon show Drake and Josh that magically grew muscles and got attractive--shows up and announces that he is Stamos' son. But even better, Peck has a daughter himself making Stamos a, wait for it... grandfather. I know, right? Now the whole title makes sense. Don't you hate it when creative types give titles to things that are so on-the-head that it makes you roll your eyes and say, "really? Gee, I wonder what this is gonna be about. Stupid!" As an aside, my new comedy novel "Yep, I'm Totally Stalking, My Ex-Boyfriend" is out on Amazon Kindle now.

This is what happens in the opening minutes of the first episode. A half hour comedy at 8pm on FOX's Tuesday just before The Grinder, it actually doesn't have much huge competition outside of The second night of The Voice on NBC, The Muppets on ABC, The Flash on CW, and whatever CBS is putting out. In fact, nothing quickly comes to mind involving the cable channels of AMC, USA, HBO, and FX, meaning it has all the potential to do well. I say that because it does have its laugh-inducing moments.

After Peck tells Stamos of his daughter, which I believe is great casting as I can completely believe they are related, he explains who his mom was and, well, you know. How his mom and Stamos... got along back in the day. Naturally Stamos goes to the woman played by Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds, anyone?) and asks if it's true. Surprisingly not calling Maury, Bill Cunningham, Lauren Lake's Paternity Court or any other of the thousand shows that do DNA testing, he takes her word for it as they were in a relationship back in the day as young punks. Why didn't she tell him? Eh! Basic stuff: he was immature, he wasn't ready for such a big commitment, she thought it'd be easier for both of them, etc. Tight-knit, she and her son still share in movie nights under the blanket and know each other like the back of their hands as evidenced by the third episode's opening game night. But she isn't the only special woman in his life.

Peck also has his non-girlfriend oops-we-messed-up-that-one-time-and-had-sex-thusly-breaking-our-platonic-friendship-and-got-a-baby-out-of-it best friend played by Christina Milian. Are you all getting how every character on this show is played by a well-known enough actor that I don't even bother to remember their character's names? Yeah, if this show manages to survive and I keep watching it, I'll probably never use the character names. Anyway, in her first regular role on a scripted show from what I know, she is the hottie who has known Peck for quite a few years and a night of inhibitions loss led to their baby together which looks strangely completely white. I know about genetics and all of that stuff but it would seem like they could have gotten a darker baby but I digress. Anyway, as much as Peck wants her, they never actually dated and she still only sees him as a friend and her child's father, leaving him to long for her in semi-silence even though he tries to tell her multiple times including a fanciful and elaborate cartoon movie drone display on the side of a house. He's got no game and this is the second main thrust of the show.

Stamos being the ladies' man he is has to teach his dorky 25-year-old son not only how to be a real man as his mother babied and feminized him, but he must also teach him how to gain favor with his crush/child's mother before she commits herself to one of the many beefhead, chauvinistic losers she's used to dating. Stamos, similar to Will Smith in Hitch, must also learn the true meaning of family, love, and being a father/grandfather as this new experience turns his life around for the better. Where once he womanized without a care in the world, now he dares ask his possible conquest who her mother was and if he's slept with her as he could be his current potential sex partner's father. His urge to bed hop has also been dampened by the fact that Paget just happens to be the one that got away for him. He still loves her but his infantile maturity will not allow him to truly explore such deep emotions just yet. Like Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, he has to learn how to be a good person and actually care about something other than himself.

Sometimes the two thrusts of the show will conflict or interact as judged by the second episode when Stamos wishes to go to Diddy's West Coast White Party--the first since 2009. While going there and taking his son would expose Peck to a level of fun, sophistication and a playground of beautiful women he can ply and tweak his game on, it also means skipping a family beach day in which Paget and Christina will attend to watch the baby take her first swim in the ocean. Not only does he learn that family is filled with a ton of uncool duties and responsibilities but Paget learns a little about why her son loves Christina so much--she's a fiercely protective mother hen with a plan to become an internet sensation to make money, which is just... ridiculous, right? Anyway, as is custom with these shows, he always chooses the family and goes for the family day. Just like in the third episode when he realizes his lack of knowledge concerning his new son and volunteers for a guy's night. During the night he gets his son drunk, Peck makes a funny throwaway reference about being husky as an adolescent, and Stamos loses his drunken son, feeling the unwelcomed rush of a parent with a missing child for the first time in his life. Everything solves itself at the end of the half hour and life ticks on.

That lady is his restaurant manager and the head chef is in the back.

What's my grade? I give it a B+. You probably thought I'd rate it lower, didn't you? Surprisingly, it's highly enjoyable. It has a decent cast, Stamos is good in the role and Peck recalls his days on that Nickelodeon show. The lesbian restaurant manager plays well off Stamos and his head chef who I believe is Middle Eastern. The jokes are light and fluffy while not straying away from the topic of sex, but keeping it grounded in family sitcom territory. There is not only tons of name-dropping but a few good guest stars too (Lil Wayne took time from his busy schedule of trading exes with The Dream, and suing Birdman to appear on the first episode). And maybe its nostalgia or just plain fun, but it's funny to see Stamos dealing with babies again after having the Olsens playing one child on Full House.

Should you be watching? That depends highly on your humor as it is the most subjective part of entertainment. You might not even think I'm funny in a sarcastic hipster way. This isn't ground-breaking humor and shades on the goofier, sillier side of funny rather than the you have to think about it side. I'm a guy who still likes a laugh track (no, this show doesn't have one) and finds it strange when people are so against laugh tracks--up until 15 years ago, maybe sooner, every sitcom had a laugh track and it didn't diminish the quality of humor. If it did, people wouldn't still watch Seinfeld daily. I like goofy as much as I like intellectual. But I will say that if you aren't committed to watching anything on Tuesdays and you like a decent laugh every so often, at least check it out and give it an episode or two. You might like it, you might not.

What do you think? Are you happy to see that John Stamos is back on national TV? Have you seen the show? If so, do you think Stamos and Paget will rekindle their romance. Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my new comedy novel Yep, I'm Totally Stalking, My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for Halloween scares check #AFuriousWind, #DARKER, #BrandNewHome or  #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic, check out #TheWriter. The full first season is OUT NOW exclusively on Amazon. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right side.

Until next time, “Have Mercy!"

P.S. Uncle Jesse. Man, why didn't Fuller House get picked up on ABC as a reunion miniseries. I really wanted to see that thing. Oh well. I'll keep thinking of a good sign-off.

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