'Guys with Kids' Review: Familiar -- But Funny
'Guys with Kids' Review: Familiar -- But Funny
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Comedy doesn't always have to be edgy. Sometimes, humor comes from the familiar, from experiences we can all recognize. We don't always have to push artistic boundaries in our enjoyment of television -- sometimes we just want to relax and enjoy a pleasant time.

That is exactly the sort of comedy we get from NBC's new show, Guys with Kids.

When reading this positive review of Guys with Kids, you need to understand one fundamental thing: I didn't expect to like this show. Why would I? A traditional, ensemble sitcom about a bunch of guys saddled with -- horror of horrors! -- fatherhood, complete with a laugh track... I shudder to think of it. And on NBC, that home of such brilliant humor as Community and Parks and Recreation? What were they thinking?

Apparently, they were thinking that Guys with Kids is pretty funny.

The premise of this show, co-created by NBC darling Jimmy Fallon, centers around three guys. They all have kids. One guy, Chris (Jesse Bradford), is a single and recently divorced dad with one young baby. His buddy Nick (Zach Cregger), is an affluent lawyer with a lovely wife (The Sopranos' Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and two children. The third guy, Gary (Anthony Anderson), is a stay-at-home dad who allows his wife, Marnie (Tempestt Bledsoe of The Cosby Show fame), to escape their crowded home and four children.

Wacky hijinks ensue.

Contrary to what you may have heard from other reviewers out there in the TV-criticism world, Guys with Kids isn't just an update of Three Men and a Baby. For one thing, all of these guys are competent, loving fathers. They don't mind being with their children, and all take an active (if occasionally clumsy) interest in the younger generation.

This means that the comedy of Guys with Kids doesn't come from the antics of stupid men. Instead, we get a look at the absurdity of parenthood. All of these adults are human, after all. Just a few years ago, they could stay out late, get drunk, play video games and have sex in whatever wildly inappropriate places they found.

It's different with kids. Date nights get cut short out of concern for the wee ones' well-beings. Loving parents resort to a locked bathroom for a few moments of intimacy. Bathing a child in a kitchen sink becomes a quick and clever alternative.

Guys with Kids works primarily because of a pleasant and comedic cast comfortable in their roles. Everyone, whatever their foibles, is ultimately likable. The two married couples seem realistic. Even when the script stumbles into sitcom-shtick, the actors do their best to keep the laughs coming.

There are flaws to Guys with Kids, of course. It's not great comedy, set to travel through the ages on myriads of Top-10 lists. The laugh track is -- as laugh tracks always are -- grating at times. Some jokes fall flat on their faces and are best forgotten.

But in the end, these things don't really matter. Even though Guys with Kids pushes no boundaries and has zero artistic pretensions, it works as a solid and pleasant half-hour of entertainment.

And really, what else should we expect from a sitcom?

Guys with Kids premieres on Wednesday, September 12 at 8:30pm on NBC.

(Images courtesy of NBC)