In Episode 2 (aka E. 101), "Chris' New Girlfriend," the "Kids" are almost nowhere to be found - an odd move for what was likely the first exposure to the series for many viewers had they not caught the Pilot airing two weeks ago. While the kids served largely as props during week one, week two finds them practically discarded (they're here, but very quiet) in favor of some relationship-centric storylines pulled straight from the well of sitcoms past. Gary (Anthony Anderson) forgets his wedding anniversary (how many times have we seen this one?); Nick (Zach Cregger) reveals that he once dated Chris' (Jesse Bradford) new girlfriend back in 2004 (though she doesn't seem to remember); And Chris' ex, Sheila (Erinn Hayes) is exercising a little too much freedom with the keys to his apartment (for emergency use only). None of these stories has much to do with being a parent, or a "Guy with Kids."
As noted when I reviewed the pilot, the laugh track - provided on-cue by the "live studio audience" - is particularly grating, and here we find it massively overused to accent the unfunny from the get-go, cranking up several unwarranted laughs before the opening titles even roll. In fact, I counted at least 14 laugh-enhanced moments in the first 1:47 of the show.
With Executive Producer/Creator/Theme Song-singer Jimmy Fallon championing the show, it's a surprise and a shame that this cast (which is quite good) hasn't been given anything decent to work with here. I'd like to think that Fallon and Co. presented the show in a much better format, and that it was some network execs that pulled enough strings to make it terrible.
Have 22 minutes to burn? Check out the full episode of GUYS WITH KIDS below (available until November 8, 2012) and see if you find it as bad as I did...
GUYS WITH KIDS airs Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC. Check out the official site for more details.