A new TV series being introduced and loved by many early on is nothing new. It’s when that series manages to stick around for awhile that you realize it might have some legs. Such is the case with Gary Unmarried, now into its second season on CBS. While not a wildly successful or talked about sitcom, it is one of CBS’s most promising new-ish series (although this most recent season has been rather disappointing when compared to the first). Only time will tell if it will continue to rise in popularity or if the second season will be its last (and considering two of its executive producers left the series already over “creative differences,” it doesn’t bode well for the production).
Everything seems unfamiliar for suddenly single dad Gary Brooks (Jay Mohr) as he tries to navigate his increasingly complex life. A painting contractor, Gary is doing the best he can to share the upbringing of his 14-year-old son Tom (Ryan Malgarini) and 11-year-old daughter Louise (Kathryn Newton) with ex-wife Allison (Paula Marshall). Just as he’s trying to figure the etiquette involved in informing his ex of his gorgeous new girlfriend Vanessa (Jaime King), Allison drops a major bombshell on him—she’s engaged to their marriage counselor! Kids, romance and his ex-wife’s controlling ways keep Gary guessing as he gets used to his strange and uproarious new world.
For the time being we’ll ignore the rickety fate of the show and focus on this first season…which can only be described as unremarkable. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, as the series has plenty going for it. In fact I found myself laughing at it more than I thought I would (as the bits of it I’d seen on TV wasn’t something that ever really made me laugh). Plus it has the dreaded laugh track—my most hated staple of CBS TV. Seriously CBS, you’re the only network still using it. Can you let it go? Can you let us laugh at the jokes on our own? I’ve gotten used to it on Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, but I really hate having to warm up to it again every time you put a new series out.
But I digress. This season is really quite good for a freshman outing, I must say. It’s not brilliant and not something I plan on sticking with (especially after the disappointing start to the second), but for what it is it’s not a bad show. I say this because it isn’t a really heavy show. Yeah it deals with divorce and whatever, but the way the show progresses it’s clear that the eventual goal is to put the two back together again; they’re the happiest divorced couple I’ve ever seen and while they fight relentlessly, there’s also a driving undercurrent of love between the two.
So the series is remarkably light in structure, which makes it as easy to swallow and laugh at as it is to forget it. There’s a fair amount of guest stars on the series that includes Jane Curtin, Rob Riggle, and Ed Begley Jr. (although he’s in the majority of this first season so he’s not exactly just a guest star I guess), so the rotation of the cast isn’t something that ever gets stale. But even after watching all twenty episodes of this first season I just find it a show that is really incredibly easy to forget about. Jokes don’t stick with you and by the end of it you just want to go hop on another show to get your comedy fix. I guess this show is the sitcom equivalent of Chinese food. It’s good while you’re watching it, but once it’s over you find yourself wanting something more filling.
So if you’re a fan of Jay Mohr then you’ll be happy to know he has a funny and mildly successful sitcom. On the other hand it’s just not all that memorable and I doubt it will even be a show anyone remembers a decade from now. It’s relatable in the situations it presents, but unless you can really relate to the characters or story lines then it’s probably something you’re going to stick with as it does nothing new as it’s very much a conventional sitcom in every form of the word. Worth a Rental if you’re curious.
Gary Unmarried arrives on DVD in a standard viva-multi-pak Amaray case. The set, comprised of three discs, is shoved inside of a cardboard slipcover and inside are a few inserts advertising other CBS/Disney products. Menus are simple and easy to navigate while the video and audio are what you’d expect from a modern series. Of course there is crystal clear and clean video and solid DD5.1 audio, although with it being a sitcom the audio spills out of the front channels almost exclusively.
• Gary Unhinged: Bloopers From Season One
• The Chemistry Of Comedy – The cast and crew gives an all-access tour of Gary Unmarried.
• Planet Begley – Cast member Ed Begley, Jr. brings his eco-friendly expertise to the set of Gary Unmarried.
• Tuesday On The Set With Jay – Spend a day on the set of Gary Unmarried with Jay Mohr.
The extras are obviously limited in scope, but they’re all pretty entertaining. The thing about the show is Mohr is deadly funny, but he never really shows off his style of comedy in the show. But in the extras we get to see his brand of humor and everything from the bloopers to the set tours are highly entertaining.
Overall this is a solid set and fans of the show will find it Recommended. Extras are very, very light but aside from commentaries I’m not sure what else they could have put on the set. The show isn’t bad or overly disappointing in any way, it’s just very common and formulaic in structure so it rarely pulls off anything “original.” In the end it’s enjoyable, but only if you’ve already exhausted the other cornucopia of hilarious TV already airing.
Gary Unmarried – Season 1 arrives on DVD on February 9th.