Review: Guys With Kids (NBC) 1×1

NBC. Comedy. Need I go on?

Guys With Kids

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c, NBC. Begins September 26
in the UK: Not yet acquired (thankfully)

By now, after Go On, The New Normal and Animal Practice, you should know the form.

NBC. Comedy. Don’t watch.

It’s that simple. You may think I’m exaggerating – and given the second episode of Go On was actually okay, maybe I am – but as a rule, “NBC. Comedy. Don’t watch” is pretty accurate and a good way to guide your viewing.

I should also add that anything that’s “war of the sexes” is guaranteed to be dismal and if you needed any proof, here’s Guys With Kids. See that title? Does it make you think, “My, that’s going to be a top, grade A comedy”? Of course it doesn’t. And you’d be right.

Here, NBC has latched onto the fact that one of its few new comedies not to massively fall on its face last year – the single-camera comedy Up All Night – was about modern parents, parenting and kids. It also noticed that a whole load of shows on other, better networks were about men dealing with changes in society – although it failed to notice that almost none of them were any good (e.g. Last Man Standing, Man Up!). So it’s decided to make a comedy about men having to look after kids. And it’s gone multi-camera: there’s even someone at the beginning who claims it was filmed in front of a live studio audience. Presumably a studio filled with nitrous oxide.

You can imagine the laughs, right? No? Surprising that.

Here’s a trailer for the pilot. You might need to sit down for this one.

“Guys with Kids” is a new comedy from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jimmy Fallon about three 30-something dads who try to hold on to their youth as they face the responsibilities of having kids. Thankfully, Gary (Anthony Anderson, “Law & Order”), Chris (Jesse Bradford, “The West Wing”) and Nick (Zach Cregger, “Friends with Benefits”) have each other to help navigate the highs and lows of fatherhood – while still trying desperately to remain dudes.

Balancing work or staying at home, happily married or happily divorced, taking care of the “littles” while maintaining a social life is a daily challenge. Whether it’s hosing down their babies in the kitchen sink or hitting the bar strapped with “babybjorns,” these guys are taking on fatherhood in ways no one has ever seen before. Nick and Gary’s wives – Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, “The Sopranos”) and Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe, “The Cosby Show”) also offer their own parenting advice.

Dads today are more involved in their kids’ lives than ever, and these guys are no exception. No tantrum is too loud, no diaper is too dirty – Nick, Chris and Gary are up to the challenge.

Joining Fallon (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) as executive producers/creators are Charlie Grandy (NBC’s “The Office”) and Amy Ozols (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”); executive producers are Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz (“Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” “American Dad”). Emmy-nominated director Scott Ellis (“Modern Family,” “30 Rock”) is the director.

“Guys with Kids” is produced by Universal Television and Holiday Road.  

Is it any good?
It’s painful. Not 100% painful, since it does manage to steer away from most stereotypical situations and characters. Even shrill harpy of an ex-wife character has a couple of dimensions. Occasionally, it has just a passing hint of intelligence and wit, although even I, a non-parent, learnt precisely nothing about parenting that I didn’t already know. But those few moments were entirely squandered by one of the least talented casts around and by scriptwriters that don’t have the ability to tease those moments into anything more than a few ephemeral seconds.

There’s a couple of decent characters. It’s nice to see Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show) and Erinn Hayes (Childrens Hospital) getting work. But a combination of cringe comedy, a lack of decent jokes (all the good ones were in the trailer – did you spot them?) and people who just should not be acting for a living effectively make this as pleasurable as being mugged at knifepoint.

NBC. Comedy. Don’t watch. See? Simple.


  • 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.