July 2, 2011


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


See A Word About Busted Pilots

Not even the presence of Michael Chiklis and Elizabeth Perkins could make VINCE UNCENSORED endurable.   Deservedly consigned by CBS to its trash-bin, this isn’t one of those pilots you’ll be likely to hear about again. 

The storyline of Vince Uncensored uses a contrivance to get to an even sillier-than-usual version of a very old sitcom plot.  Vince (Chiklis) is a building contractor who recently suffered a brain aneurism.  His doctor (Vincent Garber; not clear if he was meant to be a series regular or a guest star) was able to save his life, but in the process of brain surgery, Vince lost the internal “censor” that tells us what thoughts to keep to ourselves; consequently, he now blurts out everything he’s thinking, no matter how rude.  As you’d expect, this leads to Vince saying nasty things to his parents (Paul Dooley and Georgia Engel), his wife (Perkins) and daughters Rachel G. Fox and Marcella Lentz-Pope), not to mention making things difficult at the job when he confesses to a potential client that he, like all contractors, lies about his bids. 

Vince’s uncontrollable honesty is a rip-off of Liar Liar, but really, Vince is just a more cartoonish version of the sitcom dad who always says the wrong thing, but who’s good at heart and for whom everything ultimately works out (see, e.g., Last Man Standing).  The show wouldn’t dare take the chance of having Vince reveal genuinely subversive thoughts about his family, so his insults are mostly just one-liners (when Perkins asks if a pair of slacks makes her ass look fat, he tells her it looks fat whether in or out of the pants).  Even his one potentially hurtful snipe, calling the daughter who’s left college after a month a “whiny quitter,” just leads to her decision to re-enroll in a community college closer to home (so she can stay a series regular).  Meanwhile, the level of humor is having Vince’s mother talk about having vaginal rejuvination surgery, because there’s nothing more sophisticated than having senior citizens make references to sex.  She, by the way, is one of those characters who are supposed to be charmingly alcoholic, while Vince’s father just eats junk food and watches TV reruns.

It’s hard to understand why Vince Uncensored is as bad as it is, because there was certainly no shortage of experienced personnel.  The witless script is by Phoef Sutton, a pro whose credits go back to Cheers (although he’s never successfully created a show).  Conan O’Brien’s production company developed the project, and the pilot is directed by Kelsey Grammer, who knows his way around multi-camera sitcoms–and yet the show invokes every cliche of that genre, from the giant overlit living room set to the overcaffeinated studio audience.  Even the cast pushes too hard, slamming those punch-lines home.  (Only Dooley manages to keep a bit of dry distance between himself and his dialogue.) 

There’s no point in belaboring Vince Uncensored; it’s one of those pilots that go bad every development season, seeming to have the right elements but falling flat on its face.  At least it’s a show that should appreciate hearing the unexpurgated truth about itself.

The Sked’s Verdict:  The Network Was Right

Read more about TV’s new shows at THE SKED PILOT REPORT.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."