|The cast, including PJ (center) and the dearly departed Jim Gaffigan (right)
You know those TV shows you catch shit for watching? When you bring it up in conversation, you get that look of pity mixed condescension that just says, "I have more important things to do than watch Drop Dead Diva
Look, I watch a lot of crap television, but I don't deserve that
look for watching TBS' My Boys
, which premiered the first two eps of its fourth season last night. My Boys
isn't a great sitcom; it will never be in the pantheon of All in the Family
, Arrested Development
or, even newer must-sees like Parks and Recreation
. But it's a good sitcom with a lived-in, well-drawn characters played by actors (including Norristown-bred Kellee Stewart
) who know how to enhance the strength of their characters by playing off each other in ways usually only seen in the aforementioned canon sitcoms. Betsy Thomas' show is a well worn concept: The comings-and-goings of P.J. (Jordana Spiro
), a Cubs beat reporter-turned-columnist, and her cadre of often drunk, mostly male friends. Even with the recent departure of P.J.'s older brother Andy, played by the great Jim Gaffigan
, the rest of the ensemble knows how to plug the King Baby
-sized hole by adding their own deadpan quirk. (Spiro, who like most leads, is usually stuck playing the straight-man but Gaffigan's absence has given even her the opportunity to throw in some slapstick, especially in the second, and better episodes shown last night).
TBS clearly markets the show toward women even if it's a dude-heavy cast on paper but even more niche than that, it's geared toward a female audience to which Sex and the City
might as well be broadcast in Farsi. There are definite similarities: Both shows have an ensemble cast with one leader who narrates the show in hindsight and offers a life lesson at the end of every episode, with communal gathering places to start a new adventure or rehash an old one instead of the brunch table or at the place with the fanciest pink swill disguised as booze, P.J. and her friends commune in her living room or their bar.
But what really separates My Boys
is that its a show starring a woman in which her relationship follies are not front and center. While P.J. is dating one of the Boys in the current arc, that's just development, opposed to her character's overarching personality trait. This is a show that portends to be about friends and is actually about friends with the natural waves that friendships ride.
isn't perfect, there are better things
during its timeslot, you'll still probably get that
look when you tell people you watch it. But at least we'll be getting it together.
My Boys airs every Sunday at 10 p.m.