Okay, I think we've established (and exhausted) the topic of how terrible the CBS laugh track is. It's truly unbearable and makes perfectly good shows like 2 Broke Girls seem way more hokey than they actually are. And in the case of hopelessly bad shows, it emphasizes how awful they are. Guess which category How to be a Gentleman fits in?
And in addition to the dreadful laugh track, Gentleman has a cheesy voice-over element to it that is all kinds of wrong. I understand the glaringly obvious attempt at trying to be Sex and the City for straight men on primetime TV -- especially since Andrew (David Hornsby, who I much prefer as It's Always Sunny's Rickety Cricket) is a whiney writer with a column about being a person trying to grasp their gender role in the modern day. Look, this isn't the only new series on network television trying to compartmentalize and reclaim manhood -- Man Up and Last Man Standing are similarly irritating in their attempts, too -- but it's extremely dated that this show needs to define masculinity in the context of how, ahem, dumb and controlling women are.
I mean, I know this is CBS, the network that will not allow a minority to be anything but evil or dorky (props to Rhys Darby, who plays Andrew's brother-in-law, for taking it all in stride, even if his character's jokes were mostly a rip-off of Bill Hader's in Forgetting Sarah Marshall), but at least give us a female character who isn't a moron, bitch or a slut. Not only did Gentleman bring nothing remotely interesting to the conversation while failing the Bechdel Test -- most of the women who actually received a fair amount of screen-time in the pilot were strippers, and you could literally only see their legs. When Tracy (Mary Lynn Rajskub), the female "lead" (if you can call her that), did scene after scene of being a crappy sister, ungrateful daughter and man-eating wife, I so deeply wished Jack Bauer would swoop in and return Chloe to the CTU.
I can't believe I've made all of these complaints and still haven't even touched on Bert, Kevin Dillon's character. If you like Entourage, you're in luck: Johnny Drama lives! (And also, you Entourage fans: I'm shocked you're still reading an article that cites the Bechdel Test.) Really, though, I don't blame Dillon for playing a role that is already tried and true for his fans. Bert is a macho idiot who had the pleasure of reading the line/plot synopsis, "You know everything about being a gentleman, but nothing about being a man," and his former-bully-turned-trainer-slash-buddy rapport with Andrew is fine. I believe these two pathetic losers would find each other tolerable and learn from each other and berate women together. As for anyone watching this show for Kids in the Hall veteran Dave Foley, who plays Andrew's boss Jerry... my deepest condolences.
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