Review: The Winner 1×01-1×02

The Winner

In the US: Sundays, 8:30/7:30c & 9:30/8:30c, Fox

In the UK: No one yet, but Paramount looks a fair bet

Fox does like its comedy broad, doesn’t it? Broad, male-oriented and just a little bit stupid. But, hey, for once, here’s a show that’s actually quite funny. Starring The Daily Show‘s Rob Corddry as a man in his mid-30s who hasn’t quite hit adolescence yet, The Winner picks easy targets, makes no innovations in plot or style, yet mysteriously manages to raise laughs.

Plot (late-blooming on the Fox web site)

How did a bald man (Rob Corddry from “The Daily Show”) and a teenager become best friends? Why does a man who lives with his parents think he can win the heart of a doctor?

Is it any good?

The plot to The Winner is quite simple. These days, Glenn Abbott is the richest man in Buffalo, married, with two kids. But back in 1994, when he was still in his 30s, he lived with his parents, had been “working on his book” for three years and for all intents and purposes, had the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old.

Then who should re-enter his life – by moving in to the house over the road – but the girl he’s had a crush on since 1974. She’s a doctor, has a teenage son and has recently divorced her loser husband. If Glenn wants to win her affections, he’d better shape up, get a job and learn how to be a man.

As mentioned, there’s nothing desperately new here. The “looking back from the future” angle has been done by How I Met Your Mother and others. Boy-men like those in Two and a Half Men, King of Queens, Everyone Loves Raymond et al were all the rage a few years ago but are starting to look more like complete losers who need to grow up. In that sense, The Winner tries to have its cake and eat it, by making it clear right from the outset that Abbott is a loser but keeping him as the hero.

Nevertheless, there’s a certain degree of fun in seeing a man with the wisdom of a 13-year-old trying to navigate through life. The jokes are funny, as you’d expect from the creators of Family Guy. Corddry’s a funny performer and he has good chemistry with Josh, his love’s son. The female roles are pretty worthless, with Abbott’s mum best characterised as “thick” and his neighbour basically a walking, talking series of plot opportunities, rather than an actual character.

The second episode was about as good as the first, so I’m going to stick with it. It’s not a pioneer of new comedy forms but it’s entertaining at least – unless you fancy a show with well developed female roles.

Here’s a shiny low quality YouTube trailer for the show:


Rob Corddry (Glenn)

Erinn Hayes (Alison McKellar)

Lenny Clarke (Glenn’s Dad)

Keir Gilchrist (Josh)

Linda Hart (Glenn’s Mom)


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.