To say that the new CBS comedy series $#*! My Dad Says is weakened by the fact that its source material is that of a Twitter-feed-turned-book would be irresponsible if only because it presumes that there isn’t an abundance of other problems that make the show an unbearable sitcom. If you’ve been enjoying William Shatner’s Priceline commercials and need something to watch with your grandparents then the show will likely tickle your funny bone. But if you’re like me and prefer your comedies lack a laughtrack while still sustaining quality hilarity, then stay far away from CBS on Thursday nights. Find out the real reason why $#*! is not only the title, but an apt description of the series, after the jump.
The new CBS comedy series is loosely based on the Twitter feed @ShitMyDadSays where the off-kilter and sometimes vulgar and politically incorrect musings of a man’s father were posted for the online community to enjoy. Hopefully the new series will be seen by far less people so we don’t have to endure the PG adaptation of what was actually a source of some hilarious, albeit short-lived, entertainment. Here William Shatner brings some life to the words, but they don’t bite nearly as hard as the source material that inspired the show. Therefore, it’s lost most of its fuel for laughs. I haven’t seen the original pilot (it has been significantly rewritten and remade), but apparently one of the fixes was reducing how contrived and forced the short 140 character phrases sounded coming out of Shatner’s mouth. There’s a chance I may have preferred that over this Disney channel fluff that has been delivered.
I suppose I have to give credit to the writers for being bold enough to try and salvage this series by doing a complete overhaul on the pilot. From what I can tell the development of William Shatner’s character, Ed Goodson, into an actual person as opposed to a loudspeaker for the Twitter feed is undoubtedly an improvement. However, still present is the exaggerated acting and the phony pulling at the heartstrings when Dad’s vulnerability is shown with a complete lack of subtlety (the only thing missing are the sounds of slow piano key strokes). But the biggest problem with Shatner’s character is that it never seems to get past the fact that he’s a character and not William Shatner. There’s even an imitation by the show’s co-star, Ed’s son Henry (Jonathan Sadowski) to which Shatner replies, “Why can’t anyone do a good impression of me.” Why not just wink and look at the camera, Shat?
The fact that this is meant to be an adaptation of the Twitter feed of the same name creates expectations that a show on CBS can’t live up to. The series is no different than the countless dysfunctional family sitcoms that hit the networks every year. Seeing edgy Mad TV alums Will Sasso (Henry’s brother Vince) and Nicole Sullivan (Henry’s sister-in-law Bonnie) pushed into the censored box of a sitcom makes me even more of a sad panda as they’re given some of the worst material in the pilot. Even more weak is the story at the heart of the pilot which sees Henry finding difficulty asking his father for financial help as he finds himself unemployed and unable to help with the rent at his girlfriend’s apartment where he’s currently staying. Ed’s fake heart attacks are a cry for help, but the setup where Henry for some inexplicable reason actually finds himself concerned for his Dad’s health and likely moving in to Ed’s home is just sitcom garbage. I just don’t care where.
THE FINAL WORD: You can decipher the quality and content of $#*! My Dad Says just from the censored title and its home network alone. The censoring of the title alone is just the start of what should have been an edgy sitcom being reduced to family fare, canned laughter inducing trash. But the fact that this show is on CBS just goes to show you that this is simply a show that’s made for all the old people who love watching CBS from their recliners. The good news is that Outsourced on NBC won’t fare much better and easily takes the title of worst pilot of the season. However, this shit (there I said it) is a close second