Picadore Productions/Paramount Network Television
Sitcoms have changed forever since The Office introduced the documentary style series. The beauty of Netflix is seeing some throwback shows featuring actors before they were famous. Out of Practice features a great cast, hilarious writing and a halfway decent premise. It’s a fluke it lasted a full season but did not take off.
Benjamin Barnes (Christopher Gorham) is a marriage counselor and the only member of his family that isn’t a doctor. His family includes his father Stewart (Henry Winkler), a bumbling gastroenterologist, his mother Lydia (Stockard Channing) a type-A cardiologist, his sister Regina (Paula Marshall) is a lesbian E.R. doctor and his brother Oliver (Ty Burrell) is a womanizing plastic surgeon. When he and his parents get divorced at the same time the family rallies together.
Gorham is the king of prematurely cancelled series. He has starred in multiple amazing television shows that ended before their time. Popular, Ugly Betty, and Jake 2.0 all featured Gorham’s unique blend of charm, likeability and sexy abs but did not last. This series was great with him in the lead.
The cast is chock full of amazing stars. You can’t beat a show that would cast Rizzo (Channing) from Grease and Fonzie (Winkler) from Happy Days as husband and wife. You can see from this early series how Burrell would go on to win the Emmy for his role on Modern Family. Plus, Jennifer Tilly plays Crystal, “the other woman.”
Out of Practice is a throwback to the heyday when sitcom was king. Sadly, the days of the sitcom were numbered and despite the great cast and interesting and intelligent premise this little gem did not last. However, luckily, the full-length season is available on Netflix.