Culture of Pop

Review: ‘Grandfathered’ Premieres on Fox

Fox’s new comedy Grandfathered has an extremely likable cast and some potential, but it could be ruined by a lack of real stakes to keep you invested. The show is about Jimmy (Full House‘s John Stamos), who finds out that he has a son he never knew about. His son Gerald (Drake & Josh‘s Josh Peck) introduces himself to Jimmy and tells him that he has a daughter, making Jimmy a grandfather.

The problem is there’s no pressing need for a family to form. Jimmy kind of wants to show he can be a dad and a grandpa and Gerald would kind of like a relationship to his father. But, the pilot leaves you with the feeling that the two could part ways at any time and it would be completely fine. For contrast, look at Raising Hope. The family unit on that show was constructed in a way that necessitated everyone being close and helping each other out just to get by. A comedy doesn’t need high stakes, of course, but it does need a reason for all of the characters to be pushed together and Grandfathered doesn’t really have that.

Josh Peck is very funny and Paget Brewster (Community) is as wonderful as ever as Gerald’s mother Sara Kingsley. I also like the potential relationship between Gerald and Vanessa (East Los High‘s Christina Milian), the mother of his child. Even though they had a baby together after a one night stand, she just sees him as a friend. It’s an interesting dynamic and I’m looking forward to seeing it play out more.

There’s potential in some elements of Grandfathered, but they have to stop shying away from real conflict as much as they did in the pilot. The major conflict in this episode happened when Jimmy was baby-sitting and got a call that a slew of celebrities were visiting his restaurant. This is treated like a crisis, but I’m not sure why. It’s not as though the celebrities would leave if the owner of the restaurant didn’t personally talk to them during their meal. The main character’s life being so aggressively comfortable just isn’t conducive to good comedy or storytelling.

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