S1E6: I’ll admit it, I have been pretty hard on $#*! My Dad Says since I first heard the original CBS announcement. “They plan to base a TV show on a Twitter feed?”, I asked my friends. “W – T – F?” Although I’ve tried to not assume this show would be bad based on its premise, I can’t lie and say it hasn’t affected my opinion somewhat.
So with that in mind, you can imagine that it’s been really difficult for me to watch $#*! My Dad Says with an open mind. Not only do I find the premise silly, but the show itself needed to figure out its identity. And in order to do that, it spent the first five episodes suffering growing pains. Major growing pains. When the jokes didn’t work, they REALLY didn’t work. And when they clicked, they sometimes were enough to make me a chuckle. But now, finally, $#*! My Dad Says has found its footing. That’s not to say it’s the new Friends or Seinfeld, but it’s grown from one giant hot mess that made me physically angry because it was so bad, to a watchable, run-of-the-mill, mediocre sitcom.
And I think the key word in there is watchable. It may seem a bit odd to credit a television show for being watchable, but with the target audience of $#*! My Dad Says and the sitcom genre in general, I think that’s one of the most important factors. Folks don’t tune into shows like Two and a Half Men expecting some great philosophical meditations a la Mad Men or Breaking Bad. They just want to tune in, turn their mind off and be entertained. And when you have a show like $#*! My Dad Says, with a very universal premise (a crazy family member), lots of people will no doubt be sure to turn on their televisions to watch. But in order to keep them as an audience, you have to at least make the show somewhat watchable and entertaining. Viewers simply won’t watch something that consistently is a giant mess, regardless if William Shatner is in it or not.
So basically, it seems, $#*! My Dad Says is here to stay. And now that I’m done kissing its ass for making the show somehow work, let’s talk about everything I didn’t like about last night’s episode. Here’s a rundown on what happened.
Henry is an out of work writer, and lucky for him, he’s finally managed to get a meeting with a magazine to pitch some story ideas. During said meeting, Ed calls and interrupts, bitching at him for doing a whole load of laundry for just one pair of underwear. Henry is embarrassed, but the big magazine boss guy (whose melodramatic mocking of Henry is not funny, by the way) thinks an article about Ed would be hilarious and interesting. So he suggests Henry write that article and he does and, voila! Henry is a paid writer again. But of course, as you can imagine, Ed doesn’t really like being the focus of an article — especially one that highlights his stupid and sometimes racist comments.
Meanwhile, Vince and Bonnie are trying to expand their lives socially. They go to a fancy restaurant and meet a fancy couple and end up having fancy drinks and a fancy dinner. But as they’re clicking with the couple (who Bonnie’s loving because she’s sick of not hanging out with people who “pretend to read The New Yorker”) they learn that their new friends are actually murderers. Yep. They accidentally killed someone while they were in Cabo. But, this doesn’t halt Bonnie’s quest for friendship. What does? The couple doesn’t like Jennifer Aniston. So, Vince and Bonnie storm out.
So, surprisingly, despite that awful, predictable plot, the episode was alright. It wasn’t good, and it still doesn’t compare to truly funny shows on television (Community, The Office, etc), but like I said earlier, it’s watchable. I’ve spent the last hour trying to figure out what it is about this show that makes it watchable. And I think I have the answer. William Shatner.
Surrounded by awful actors (Jonathan Sadowski, I’m looking at you), Shatner somehow brings balance to the cast. It wasn’t like this when the show first started, but in the most recent episodes, he’s figured out that although the series is called $#*! My Dad Says, he doesn’t necessarily need to emphasize each one-liner he has. He’s accepted his role as a crazy old guy, but not too crazy. We’re seeing a softer side of Ed at times, which adds depth to the character. He’s making us actually care about his opinions and weirdly enough, Henry is the one who looks like an idiot more than Ed.
So there you have it. I think I complimented $#*! My Dad Says more in this recap than I have all season, but please, don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like the show. But, I’m starting to understand why people watch it and what makes it appealing.