Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Welcome Back Boys (and PJ and Stephanie)
Even as stars Jordana Spiro and Kyle Howard saw pilot deals fall through with major networks for the fall due to contract conflicts with My Boys, chatter's been growing about an impending cancellation for the uniquely charming show. But as season 4 kicks off, it's painfully obvious that canceling now would be a terrible decision for TBS. The superstation doesn't have a lot of original programming to begin with so you take out the 4 year old sitcom and all that's left is dismal Tyler Perry fare. My Boys also sports a unique fan base that's largely untapped by most female-targeted programming: the guy's girl. It's got a solid cast, a unique point of view, sharp joke writing and fresh story ideas with the changing dynamics of the group. And with 2 of the funniest episodes I've seen starting off the new season, capping the series at 4 would just be plain wrong.
The season premiere dealt largely with the elimination of Jim Gaffigan from the series. The biggest name in the cast, Gaffigan opted out of the 4th season to focus on his standup career. So let's pretend for a second that that doesn't scream "I'm a selfish diva" and just celebrate the fact that my least favourite character is kaput, leaving 5 cast members I really love. Gaffigan's character Andy (written out lamely by moving him to China) was good in the premiere for a couple jokes at his expense and to spur the action of the episode, which saw the others trying to find a suitable replacement for his spot at poker night. It was fun, it was funny and the episode as a whole (which also included the contrived but always fun "how did we meet" flashback stories) was a great re-introduction to the series, without Andy. In the end, they predictably added Stephanie to poker night, making her truly a part of their group for the first time and leading right into the dynamic that would become crucial to episode 2.
The couples were the focus of the second of the double header episodes. Central cuties PJ and Bobby made plans to have a grown-up fancy dinner with new couple Stephanie and Kenny, leaving single guys Mike and Brendan on their own (because "only grownups watch Top Chef"). I was expecting predictable antics (as sometimes My Boys falls victim of) when the episode was turned on its head and saw Mike ("Michael" for the episode) and Brendan play the grownups and carrying on intelligent conversations that weren't about sports while having drinks with a pair of women. The couples had a terrible night, that was saved (in a way) by an accidental/on purpose ingestion of pot brownies. The role reversals proved hilarious as Michael and Brendan marveled at their own classiness "go ties!" and the others played out their night high as kites and had me laughing literally out loud through conversations in which they tried to name the 10 best human inventions or discuss the weight of water. As funny as it all was, it's that cheesy heart that's always beaten steadily beneath My Boys' wit that makes me love it so. That heart was back in full force in this episode as PJ capped it with her signature voiceover (which was then promptly undercut with a joke to send us to credits).
I think I'd managed to forget how much I love My Boys. It truly is one of my favourite shows ever, a female voice I actually understand and something TV needs on the air for years to come. If I could choose any group to be a part of, the FRIENDS, the HIMYM gang or even Buffy's Scoobies, I'd choose PJ and her boys any day of the week and twice on Sunday.