September 29, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Grandfathered”


GRANDFATHERED:  Tuesday 8PM on FOX – If Nothing Else is On…

GRANDFATHERED wins the fall’s Exactly What You Think It Is prize, awarded annually to the show that has absolutely no interest in surprising its audience or even momentarily giving it pause.  (The award is a statuette in the form of a viewer half-asleep on a living room couch.)  That doesn’t make Grandfathered a bad show–in fact, it’s likable and even moderately well put-together–just a bland one.  If 30 random people were gathered in a room and told:  “John Stamos is a breezy middle-aged man about town who suddenly finds out he has not only a previously-unknown adult son but also an infant granddaughter–GO!,” 29 of them would come up with something very close to Daniel Chun’s series.

So of course Jimmy Martino (Stamos) responds at first to the news of his newly-acquired family with shock and denial, but by the end of the initial half-hour, he’s already giving romantic advice to somewhat nerdy son Gerald (Josh Peck), and doing a “One Man and a Baby” routine with his granddaughter.  Naturally when he sees his old flame Sara (Paget Brewster), Gerald’s mother, sparks instantly begin to fly.  It goes without saying that when he ridicules the parenting in a scene from Kramer Vs. Kramer early in the pilot, he’ll be frantically replicating the scene himself a few screen minutes later.  It’s automatic that Jimmy’s co-workers, Annalise (Kelly Jenrette) and Ken (Ravi Patel) will be acerbic but supportive.  Grandfathered is the pilot equivalent of Stamos himself:  not a hair is out of place, and you’re impressed at how well it all holds together.

Stamos doesn’t stretch an inch as Jimmy, and he doesn’t have to; the role fits him like his carefully casual clothes.  He’s expert at letting the other actors rotate in his orbit without ever relinquishing control, and without looking like he’s trying to dominate, either.  Chun and director Chris Koch pace the material well, and there are amusing moments here and there.  Mostly, though, Grandfathered offers the pleasures of a comfortable shoe buffed to a high shine.

FOX has given Grandfathered a tough slot, facing off against the rebooted Muppets and, in the early going, The Voice, with The Flash arriving soon after, and even though Best Time Ever will eventually be softer competition than The Voice, its audience may overlap with the mild sitcom.  In addition, while Grandfathered fits with hour-mate The Grinder, they’re both an odd combination with the shock therapy horror comedy Scream Queens that follows.  (Grandfathered would have been an ideal CBS show.)  Nevertheless, Grandfathered is likely to please the viewers who think they’ll be pleased by it.  It’s an old basset hound of a sitcom, happy to snuggle next to you on the couch and fetch your slippers.


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."