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Guys With Kids a throwback

Guys with Kids poster

Written by : published Saturday 15th September 2012

NBC's new sitcom Guys With Kids does not belong on modern network television. It would have fit right in with the lineup twenty years ago. It would also work on a cable channel like TBS, which has similar series. But it isn't anywhere near fresh or edgy enough for most viewers nowadays, and it probably won't last very long in its current position, surrounded by higher quality fare.

Guys With Kids follows three men who have a varied number of offspring. Chris (Jesse Bradford, Bring It On, Outlaw) has one infant, whom he battles to raise the way he wants with his ex-wife, Sheila (Erinn Hayes, Childrens Hospital, Worst Week). Nick (Zach Cregger, The Whitest Kids U'Know, Miss March) has two of his own, and still manages to keep a little magic alive with his wife, Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Entourage, The Sopranos). Gary (Anthony Anderson, Law & Order, Barbershop) is a stay-at-home dad with four wild ones, which leaves both him and his wife, Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe, The Cosby Show), exhausted.

Somehow, despite the differing responsibility levels and places they are in their lives, the three guys find time to hang out and have a beer on a regular basis, with kids in tow. Is this a common practice among dads these days? They are able to carve time out of their schedules to drink during daylight hours as long as they bring their children with them?

Not that they're paying much attention to the kids, who are little more than set dressing. Many scenes in the "Pilot" feature young boys running around, out of control. The parents completely ignore them, not exactly the picture of responsibility. The youngsters are not the focus of the plot, though, this belongs to the guys. Which makes it feel like Guys With Kids wants to be a very different comedy, but saddled with watching over children, decided to stick with their original plan, just dragging the kids along.

Luckily, the relationships are a bit better. Anderson and Bledsoe have wonderful chemistry, and Cregger and Sigler work just fine, too. It's hard to see what might have been with Chris and Sheila, but since they're divorced, I guess that works. Sort of.

Hayes is the best part of the show. Surrounded by performers who fit perfectly in a second-tier sitcom such as this (though they could also likely rise to better material), she deserves so much better. It's almost as if she's a bit beaten down, like her character, Sheila. Hayes has already shown what she can do in Childrens Hospital and Worst Week, and it's time for her to have a starring vehicle of her own. Asking her to bring that honed craft into such a small role feels like such a waste.

Guys With Kids may make it if people want mindless entertainment, and don't mind the complete ignorance of what a parent does. But for those who look for something a bit more in their shows, it falls way short.

Guys With Kids airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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